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Health and Medicine


Early numbers show Medicaid expansion is cutting numbers of Ohio uninsured
Ohio Hospital Associations plans to look more deeply into the details this fall
by WKSU's M.L. SCHULTZE


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M.L. Schultze
 
A new survey shows hospitals are treating many fewer Ohioans who have no insurance, and many more covered by Medicaid.
Courtesy of Ricardo Diaz, Flickr
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When Ohio expanded Medicaid last fall, Gov. John Kasich estimated as many as 330,000 additional people would have health coverage. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze reports that a new survey -- and a separate study -- indicate that may be coming true.

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The Ohio Hospital Association surveyed 130 hospitals and about half responded. About four-in-10 said they are seeing fewer patients with no insurance. More than two-thirds said they’re seeing more patients covered by Medicaid. 

The survey covered roughly the first four months since Gov. Kasich forced through the expansion of Medicaid over the objections of fellow Republicans in the Ohio Legislature.

Hospital Association spokesman John Palmer says this survey was a quick – unaudited – look at what’s happening. Next comes an examination of why. 

“We did see that there was a shift in that preliminary finding from uninsured to the Medicaid side. And so we’ll continue to watch that trend as we go into the fall and as Medicaid eligibility and enrollees continue to get coverage and get those services applied to them.” 

Meanwhile, a study by the Urban Institute and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation looked at the impact of the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion on Columbus and 13 other cities. Among the seven where Medicaid expanded, it estimates the rate of people with no health insurance will be cut more than in half by 2016.

Hospitals often have to write-off care for people who have no insurance.

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