26 Apr State ACA Expansions Linked To Large Increase In Prescription Drugs Paid For By Medicaid
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Benjamin D. Sommers, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Health Policy & Economics
Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health / Brigham & Women’s Hospital
Boston, MA 02115 and
Kosali Simon PhD
School of Public and Environmental Affairs
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Prescription drugs are considered a high value form of medical care, and can be especially difficult for the uninsured to access. The Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion represents an unprecedented expansion of insurance to low-income non-disabled adults, and our study is the first to examine the effects on prescription utilization in detail.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: We find that states expanding Medicaid under the ACA experienced large increases in prescription drugs paid for by Medicaid – 19% overall. This amounts to more than 6 additional prescription fills per year for a newly-enrolled adult. We find that the largest increases occurred among prescriptions for chronic conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, in which medications are critical to managing those illnesses, and also for contraception, which also has important public health implications.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: Future research should examine the extent to which medication adherence improved, how drug copays may have impacted access to these medications, and whether the increased access to medications led to any long-term health improvements.
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