Tags: Medicaid | patients | states | diabetes

NYT: More Diabetes Patients Diagnosed in Medicaid States

Monday, 23 Mar 2015 02:13 PM

The expansion of Medicaid in some states has likely resulted in thousands of poor Americans being diagnosed with diabetes and getting early life-saving treatment, according to The New York Times.

The number of new diabetes patients has soared in states that have embraced Obamacare, but the figures have remained static in states that rejected the government’s Medicaid expansion program, according to Quest Diagnostics researchers.

Although one in 10 Americans has diabetes, around one-third of the cases go undiagnosed, leading to heart attacks, blindness, kidney failure, and leg and foot amputations.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that the disease accounts for $176 billion in medical costs annually, with the poor and minorities disproportionately affected, the Times noted.

In the study by the medical testing company, researchers found that in the states that expanded Medicaid, the number of enrollees with new cases of diabetes rose by 23 percent, to 18,020 in the first six months of 2014 from 14,625 in the first half of 2013.

However, the study also found that the diagnoses rose by only 0.4 percent, to 11,653 from 11,612, during that same time frame in the states that did not expand Medicaid, according to the newspaper.

Overall, the Quest study identified 434,288 people as having diabetes — equal to about a quarter of all new American cases in a year, according to recent government statistics.

The number of Americans with diabetes more than tripled from 1990 to 2010 with nearly all the new cases being diagnosed as the most common form of Type 2 diabetes, which is often linked to obesity, the Times reported.

Dr. Elbert Huang, a diabetes researcher at the University of Chicago, dismissed the study, claiming that the increase in diabetic diagnoses is more likely due to a population rise in states that expanded Medicaid rather than a result of the new health law. "I’m quite skeptical of these conclusions," he said.

However, Dr. Richard Grant, a researcher at Kaiser Permanente, a large healthcare insurer and provider, said the difference between states with and without expanded Medicaid in the Quest numbers are large enough to warrant attention.

"We don’t know what the numbers are for everybody," said Grant. "We just know the change for Quest. But that change was real. And it was not splitting hairs — 23 percent versus zero."

Dr. David Nathan, director of the Diabetes Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, also supported the study, saying, "I couldn’t find anything that sounded like a false note."

And Dr. Richard Beaser, a clinician at Joslin Diabetes Center, a nonprofit research and clinical group in Boston, told the Times, "Is it 100 percent etched in stone? No. But for an observational study, it’s really very strong. It passes my smell test, I tell you that much."

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The expansion of Medicaid in some states has likely resulted in thousands of poor Americans being diagnosed with diabetes and getting early life-saving treatment, according to The New York Times.
Medicaid, patients, states, diabetes
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2015-13-23
Monday, 23 Mar 2015 02:13 PM
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