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Monday, July 30, 2012

Medicaid Saves Lives

Megan Salzman

Staff Writer

As we celebrate Medicaid’s 47th Anniversary, we must remember that we still have a lot at stake. Conservatives are arguing that low-income people are better without Medicaid! You heard that right: They’re claiming that having Medicaid is worse than being uninsured! But a new Harvard study shows how wrong they are. It found that in three states that expanded Medicaid to people who were uninsured, the death rates declined by an average of 6 percent a year.

Seniors, minorities, and those in the poorest counties are reported to have seen the greatest decline in mortality rates – an overall average of 19.6 deaths out of 100,000 adults. And not only did Medicaid save lives, it also improved access to care and coverage for these communities. Knowing this gives us all the more reason to continue to fight against these GOP attacks, so millions more individuals can gain access to the care they deserve.

So when states debate whether they should expand Medicaid, the answer should be yes. Republicans must come to terms with reality. Not only is there a financial benefit to expansion, but research now shows that those with improved access to adequate care live longer, healthier lives.