CHA News Article

Report: Increased Service Use Following Medicaid Expansion Is Temporary
Findings highlight evidence from California’s Low Income Health Program

The UCLA Center for Health Policy Research has released a policy brief titled Increased Services Use Following Medicaid Expansion Is Mostly Temporary: Evidence From California’s Low Income Health Program, presenting data that shows a significant decline in the use of hospital inpatient care and emergency room visits after one year of enrollment in the Low Income Health Program (LIHP). The study also shows a stable, not increasing, rate of outpatient services use. The report addresses one major concern about the Medicaid expansion — a high level of need among the newly eligible may lead to “runaway costs,” which could overwhelm state budgets when federal subsidies no longer cover 100 percent of the expansion population’s costs in 2017.

“We found that the surge doesn’t last long once people get coverage,” said Nigel Lo, a research analyst at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the study’s lead author. “Our findings suggest that early and significant investments in infrastructure and in improving the process of care delivery can effectively address the pent-up demand for health care services of previously uninsured people. Fears that these new enrollees will overuse health care services are just not true.”

The full report is attached.