Published in Health Affairs this week, authors test a theory that Medicaid expansion prevents hospital closures.
Hospitals in states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act were about six times less likely to close than hospitals in non-expansion states. In AHA Today, we learn Medicaid expansion was associated with improved hospital financial performance and substantially lower likelihoods of closure, especially in rural markets and counties with large numbers of uninsured adults before Medicaid expansion.
The authors conclude:
A policy that eliminates the Medicaid expansion without a corresponding adjustment in [disproportionate share hospital] payments or other subsidies will likely result in an increase in hospital closures, especially in rural areas. If patients do not have access to other hospitals, as is the case in many rural markets, access to health care will suffer, regardless of whether a person has health insurance.
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