Nav: Home

Medicaid expansion linked with increase in prescriptions filled for chronic conditions

April 20, 2017

Boston, MA - During the first one and a half years of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the number of prescriptions filled by adults using Medicaid coverage increased by 19% in states that expanded Medicaid compared to states that did not, according to a new study from a Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health researcher and colleagues. The largest increases were for medications to manage chronic conditions such as diabetes, and for birth control.

"We knew the Medicaid expansion had improved access to care, but this study gives us much more detail about what that really means for patient care. Medications for conditions like diabetes and heart disease can be life-savers," said Benjamin Sommers, associate professor of health policy and economics, one of the study's authors.

The study's preliminary findings are being presented today at the 2017 Society of General Internal Medicine Annual Meeting, and were released earlier this year as a working paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).

The ACA expanded Medicaid eligibility in participating states to millions of low-income adults in 2014. Previous studies by Sommers and colleagues have demonstrated that expansion has resulted in improved access to care and improved affordability.

In the new study, the researchers analyzed pharmacy transaction data from 2013-2015, comparing the number of prescriptions filled in expansion vs. non-expansion states before and after the ACA expansion took effect, and the source of insurance for each prescription.

They found that over the first year and a half of the ACA's Medicaid expansion, medications used for treating diabetes accounted for the largest growth among all drug classes, with an increase of 24%. Other classes of medications that showed large increases included contraceptives (22%), cardiovascular drugs (21%), and mental health drugs (19%). Within expansion states, increases in prescription drug utilization were larger in geographical areas with higher uninsured rates prior to the ACA.

The findings also demonstrated that increases in prescription drug utilization were greater in areas with larger Hispanic and black populations, indicating that Medicaid expansion may be reducing ethnic and racial disparities in access to medications, according to the researchers.
-end-
Sommers' work on this study was supported by grant number K02HS021291 from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

"The Effect of State Medicaid Expansions on Prescription Drug Use: Evidence from the Affordable Care Act," Ausmita Ghosh, Kosali Simon, and Benjamin D. Sommers, NBER Working Paper No. 23044, January 2017

Visit the Harvard Chan School website for the latest news, press releases, and multimedia offerings.

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health brings together dedicated experts from many disciplines to educate new generations of global health leaders and produce powerful ideas that improve the lives and health of people everywhere. As a community of leading scientists, educators, and students, we work together to take innovative ideas from the laboratory to people's lives--not only making scientific breakthroughs, but also working to change individual behaviors, public policies, and health care practices. Each year, more than 400 faculty members at Harvard Chan School teach 1,000-plus full-time students from around the world and train thousands more through online and executive education courses. Founded in 1913 as the Harvard-MIT School of Health Officers, the School is recognized as America's oldest professional training program in public health.

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Related Diabetes Articles:

The role of vitamin A in diabetes
There has been no known link between diabetes and vitamin A -- until now.
Can continuous glucose monitoring improve diabetes control in patients with type 1 diabetes who inject insulin
Two studies in the Jan. 24/31 issue of JAMA find that use of a sensor implanted under the skin that continuously monitors glucose levels resulted in improved levels in patients with type 1 diabetes who inject insulin multiple times a day, compared to conventional treatment.
Complications of type 2 diabetes affect quality of life, care can lead to diabetes burnout
T2D Lifestyle, a national survey by Health Union of more than 400 individuals experiencing type 2 diabetes (T2D), reveals that patients not only struggle with commonly understood complications, but also numerous lesser known ones that people do not associate with diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes and obesity -- what do we really know?
Social and economic factors have led to a dramatic rise in type 2 diabetes and obesity around the world.
A better way to predict diabetes
An international team of researchers has discovered a simple, accurate new way to predict which women with gestational diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes after delivery.
The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology: Older Americans with diabetes living longer without disability, US study shows
Older Americans with diabetes born in the 1940s are living longer and with less disability performing day to day tasks than those born 10 years earlier, according to new research published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology journal.
Reverse your diabetes -- and you can stay diabetes-free long-term
A new study from Newcastle University, UK, has shown that people who reverse their diabetes and then keep their weight down remain free of diabetes.
New cause of diabetes
Although insulin-producing cells are found in the endocrine tissue of the pancreas, a new mouse study suggests that abnormalities in the exocrine tissue could cause cell non-autonomous effects that promotes diabetes-like symptoms.
The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology: Reducing sugar content in sugar-sweetened drinks by 40 percent over 5 years could prevent 1.5 million cases of overweight and obesity in the UK and 300,000 cases of diabetes
A new study published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology journal suggests that reducing sugar content in sugar sweetened drinks (including fruit juices) in the UK by 40 percent over five years, without replacing them with any artificial sweeteners, could prevent 500,000 cases of overweight and 1 million cases of obesity, in turn preventing around 300,000 cases of type 2 diabetes, over two decades.
Breastfeeding lowers risk of type 2 diabetes following gestational diabetes
Women with gestational diabetes who consistently and continuously breastfeed from the time of giving birth are half as likely to develop type 2 diabetes within two years after delivery, according to a study from Kaiser Permanente published today in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Related Diabetes Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Moving Forward
When the life you've built slips out of your grasp, you're often told it's best to move on. But is that true? Instead of forgetting the past, TED speakers describe how we can move forward with it. Guests include writers Nora McInerny and Suleika Jaouad, and human rights advocate Lindy Lou Isonhood.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#527 Honey I CRISPR'd the Kids
This week we're coming to you from Awesome Con in Washington, D.C. There, host Bethany Brookshire led a panel of three amazing guests to talk about the promise and perils of CRISPR, and what happens now that CRISPR babies have (maybe?) been born. Featuring science writer Tina Saey, molecular biologist Anne Simon, and bioethicist Alan Regenberg. A Nobel Prize winner argues banning CRISPR babies won’t work Geneticists push for a 5-year global ban on gene-edited babies A CRISPR spin-off causes unintended typos in DNA News of the first gene-edited babies ignited a firestorm The researcher who created CRISPR twins defends...