Medicaid Patients in Poorer Health, Cost More

May 29, 2014 | Crandall & Pera Law
Medicaid Patients in Poorer Health, Cost More

Medicaid patients experience more surgical complications and cost more than patients with private insurance, according to a recent study in the journal JAMA Surgery.

Of nearly 14,000 patients studied, Medicaid patients were twice as likely to smoke and had higher rates of conditions that made surgery riskier, even though they were generally younger than the privately insured patients. The unhealthy conditions included diabetes, lung disease and blood vessel blockage.

Medicaid patients had more emergency operations and used 50 percent more hospital resources than patients with private insurance. Medicaid patients were also found to typically need extra time in the hospital - three days on average - and were more likely to return after going home from surgery.

Most importantly, Medicaid patients had two-thirds more complications in the month after their operations and were more than twice as likely to die, compared with those on private insurance.

"We supported the expansion of Medicaid because it means that we can get patients into medical care and get them into optimum shape for an operation," said Dr. Darrell A. Campbell Jr., chief medical officer of the University of Michigan Health System. "Being a heavy smoker predisposes you to get pneumonia after an operation. For a diabetic, if blood sugar is out of control, that increases the chances of a wound infection after surgery. If we can address these issues preoperatively, we can cut down the problems we see after an operation." Read the full details here:

Poorer Health of Surgery patients on Medicaid May Alter Law's Bottom Line

Not surprisingly, Medicaid patients have been found to be in poorer health than those who have private insurance. The ramifications of this reality will continue to add stress and additional cost to the health industry, hospitals and individual physicians who provide care for low government reimbursements.

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