Evidence Mounts of Benefits of Medicaid Expansion for Mental Health Services

Wisconsin is one of 19 states that rejected federal funds to pay for the expansion of the Medicaid program, which here is called Badger Care.  Expansion money was made available through the Affordable Care Act of 2010.  The federal government covers 100 percent of the costs of expansion for three years and 90 percent of the costs thereafter.  Governor Walker declined the money, alleging concerns about future costs to the state.

Research is beginning to show that Medicaid expansion can result in cost savings to states, as well as greater access to health care.  “Benefits of Medicaid Expansion for Behavioral Health,” published in March 2016, summarizes numerous studies comparing results in expansion and non-expansion states.  Expansion money improves a state’s ability to address unmet behavioral health needs and frees state funds currently used to provide mental health services to uninsured people for use in efforts such as early treatment.

The report also includes evidence from various studies that document the consequences to society of the failure to treat behavioral health problems and provides useful state-by-state data about the number of people with behavioral health care problems who are untreated.

Participants in a webcast released April 27 discuss the impact on services for the homeless population in Medicaid expansion  and non-expansion states.  See here.






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