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American Journal of Public Health Releases Study on the Effects of the Medicaid Expansion on the Workforce Participation of People with Disabilities

February 27, 2017

The American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) recently released the results of a study, “Effect of Medicaid Expansion on Workforce Participation of People with Disabilities.” The study examined the Urban Institute’s Health Reform Monitoring Survey, a nationally representative survey of 7,400 working-age adults and found that people with disabilities living in Medicaid expansion states were 7 percent more likely to be employed. They were also significantly less likely to be unemployed because of disability. In Medicaid expansion states, 39 percent did not work due to disability. In states where Medicaid was not expanded, 48 percent did not work due to disability.

AJPH hypothesized that, before the Affordable Care Act was passed, people with disabilities were more likely to be uninsured if they were employed. AJPH noted that Medicaid expansion improves employment outcomes of people with disabilities because they are now able to get health care while earning money at levels that previously would have made them ineligible for Medicaid. The study has two major health and policy implications: (1) in Medicaid expansion states, working adults with disabilities no longer must be completely impoverished to gain publicly funded health insurance; and (2) to the extent that increased earnings leads to decreased reliance on public benefits, Medicaid expansion could potentially lead to long-term health care cost savings as persons with disabilities further their careers.

For more information, read the AJPH study.