In this AJOB editorial, Governor Laura Kelly of Kansas explains her support for expanding Medicaid to eliminate a “cruel coverage gap” for nearly 150,000 Kansans

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“When people get signed up for Medicaid, it increases the likelihood that they will seek all types of medical care including more visits to primary care doctors, and even when patients are not explicitly seeking care for opioid addiction, the greater contact with the health system creates more opportunities…” said lead study author Brendan Saloner

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The potential health and economic consequences of a trend associated with states that have turned down Medicaid expansion

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In fact, the study suggests that the Medicaid expansion may be a tool in the fight against the opioid crisis. With comments from study coauthor, our Brendan Saloner

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“Getting a Medicaid card has enabled a lot of people to get into doctors’ offices and get treatment for their addiction,” said lead researcher Brendan Saloner. He’s an assistant professor of health policy and management at Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics and School of Public Health in Baltimore

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“What that analysis leaves out is that the rate of increase was higher in the expansion states in all the years preceding Medicaid expansion,” Brendan Saloner, an assistant professor in health policy at Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics

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It’s worth noting that Medicaid expansion helps pay for opioid addiction treatment, said Brendan Saloner of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Medicaid expansion covers costs treatments like detoxification, outpatient treatment, and treatment for masked health conditions

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“…there were some people who believed that the expansion would swamp the emergency department. Thirty-six thousand may seem like a lot of visits, but in Maryland, that only equates to about a 1 percent change. So the effect of expanding Medicaid seems to have had no effect on emergency department utilization at an aggregate level.”

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