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Those on Medicaid have worse health

April 9, 2013 at 12:39 AM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, April 9 (UPI) -- U.S. adults who are on Medicaid have significantly worse health than those covered by an employer or union, a survey indicates.

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index of about 28,000 U.S. adults conducted Jan. 3 to March 1 found more than 3-in-10 adults on Medicaid were obese, 22 percent were being treated for depression, and 24 percent were being treated for high blood pressure.

The survey also found Medicaid recipients struggled disproportionately with asthma and diabetes.

Due to the nature of what allows an individual to receive Medicaid -- they must be low income or disabled -- it was not particularly surprising this group was in such relatively poor health because research has long-shown the link between poverty and poor health, Gallup said.

During the Jan. 3 to March 1 timeframe, Gallup estimated 4.5 percent of Americans age 18 and older had Medicaid as their primary source of health insurance, while 18 percent mainly relied on Medicare, 3.6 percent were on a military or veteran plan and 44.5 percent on an employer-provided plan. Another 11 percent said they have some other source of health insurance and 17 percent had no health insurance.

Thirty-six percent of adults whose primary health insurance source was Medicaid said they smoked.

Overall, the survey's margin of error was 1 percentage point, but for the Medicaid section, the margin of error was 4 percentage points.

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