Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Another Reason for Nevada to Take ACA Medicaid Expansion: It Saves Lives!

You can't say I didn't warn you. Surely enough, the New England Journal of Medicine now has new evidence from a study conducted by Harvard's School of Public Health showing we'd be incredibly stupid to turn down the Medicaid expansion program of the Affordable Care Act.

The study compared Arizona, which expanded Medicaid coverage to adults without dependent children in 2001 and to parents of children earning up to 200 percent of federal poverty in 2002, to Nevada and New Mexico, which did not opt for expansion.

“State Medicaid expansions to cover low-income adults were significantly associated with reduced mortality as well as improved coverage, access to care and self-reported health,” according to the paper. [...]

The study estimated that 2,840 deaths per year were prevented for every 500,000 people who received additional Medicaid coverage. According to those statistics, Nevada could potentially prevent 700 deaths a year if it opts to expand Medicaid coverage to 140,000 currently uninsured Nevadans under the Affordable Care Act. [...]

“Our study suggests that expanding Medicaid enables people to access the care they need and their health improves, even to the point of potentially saving lives,” said [Benjamin Sommers, the lead author of the paper]. “While states have many factors to weigh in deciding whether to expand Medicaid, it should be clear from our study and others ... that this is a program that succeeds in its goal of helping improve health care and health for poor Americans.”

It is now painfully obvious that Nevada gains absolutely nothing from turning down ACA Medicaid expansion. Rather, we just get more deaths and a more inefficient & costly health care system. Yes, you heard me right. Ultimately, we pay more by NOT expanding health care coverage for more working poor Nevadans!

So why are we still debating this? It's just plain shortsighted not to go through with ACA Medicaid expansion. We save money and save lives by simply fully participating in the new health care law.

Perhaps it's time for Nevada to finally cut the penny wise/pound foolish nonsense and join civilization for a change. Again, remember that the feds fully pay for the first three years of the program, then pay for 90% of it from 2016 onward. Despite what some on the radical right want us to believe, it's really not that costly. Rather, we waste more money by forcing uninsured Nevadans to access "primary care" in the hospital emergency room. And of course, there's the social cost of letting people die for no reason.

Why again are Brian Sandoval and state legislators still debating this?

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