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Medicaid expansion resulted in more ER visits, study finds

September 09, 2019 / Shannon Muchmore

New Medicaid patient in states that expanded the program under the Affordable Care Act increased hospital visits on average by about 20%, mostly with outpatient visits to the emergency department for deferrable conditions, according to new research from the Brookings Institution. Expansion did end up generally being well-targeted, meaning those receiving better access to services were those who previously had the highest unmet needs. Expansion under the ACA was more target efficient than previous attempts to broaden the program's eligibility, the authors wrote. Changes, however, varied largely among expansion states, they said. That can be attributed to differences such as a state's demographics and previous trends in uncompensated care.