Dr. Tammy Chang, an assistant professor in the department of family medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School and an alumnus of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program, presented an analysis of the new population that will be served by Medicaid based on new enrollments as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in the Sept. 9, 2013, issue of the journal Annals of Family Medicine.
The demographic served by Medicaid will change in ways that were not predicted before the ACA was enacted. The most prominent fear of many insurers and physicians was that the ACA would increase the numbers of persons that have chronic disease like diabetes, obesity, and depression enrolled in Medicaid.
The numbers at the time the research was published indicate the change in persons served by Medicaid as a result of the enactment of the ACA is different from expected. Larger numbers of younger people, more men, and more Caucasians will qualify for Medicaid. More smokers and heavy drinkers will also qualify for Medicaid under the present terms of the ACA.
The number of smokers and heavy abusers of alcohol is significantly higher than the present population served by Medicaid according to the research.
The hopeful expectations are that health care for smokers and alcohol abusers will provide prevention and not increase the costs of taxpayer funded health care.