In this file photo, supporters of the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, are jubilant as they celebrate a 6-3 Supreme Court ruling upholding all provisions of the health care law. A new study shows that Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act is improving preventive medical care in low-income individuals. The new administration is taking steps to repeal Obamacare currently, threatening the health insurance of millions of Americans. Photo by Pat Benic/UPI | License Photo
Jan. 26 (UPI) -- Researchers at Indiana University have found that the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, has resulted in better preventive medical care for Americans.
The study, conducted by Indiana University and Cornell University, looks at the impact the ACA, or Obamacare, has had on healthcare, especially preventive medicine.
The study is the first to examine the impact of ACA-facilitated expansions of Medicaid on preventive care and health behaviors.
Researchers studied data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System telephone survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with state governments. The data collected was from the beginning of the ACA through the end of 2015. Roughly 30 states and the District of Columbia began expanding their Medicaid benefits under the ACA in 2014.
Results showed that low-income childless adults were 17 percent more likely to have health insurance, 7 percent more likely to have a personal doctor and 11 percent less likely to list cost as an obstacle to healthcare under the ACA. The respondents also reported better overall health and were more likely to get preventive care like flu shots, HIV tests or dentist visits since having insurance under the ACA.
"Our findings indicate that the Medicaid expansions under the ACA succeeded in some of their goals, but other goals remain hard to achieve," Kosali Simon, a health economist at Indiana University's School of Public and Environmental Affairs and co-author of the study, said in a press release. "More people are seeing doctors and taking steps to safeguard their health. But there's been no detectable reduction in obesity, smoking or heavy drinking, at least through our study period."
The study found no increase in those behaviors, according to Simon, who collaborated on the research with Aparna Soni of Indiana University and John Cawley of Cornell University.
The study was published in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.