ACA Ups Diagnosis, Treatment of Chronic Diseases

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Increased coverage via the ACA has increased treatment of chronic illnesses.
Increased coverage via the ACA has increased treatment of chronic illnesses.

(HealthDay News) — More Americans are getting health insurance as a result of the Affordable Care Act, which may lead to many more people getting diagnosed and treated for chronic conditions, such as diabetes, a new study contends. 

The findings were published in Health Affairs.

Joshua Salomon, PhD, professor of global health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues looked at data from 28,157 people aged 20 to 64 years. All had participated in the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics' National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1999 to 2012. 

The investigators also relied on estimates from the Congressional Budget Office about the potential effects of the Affordable Care Act.

Insured people were much more likely than uninsured people to receive a diagnosis for a chronic disease, including diabetes, hypertension and hypercholesterolemia. Even if uninsured Americans were diagnosed with a chronic disease, those with insurance were more likely to have their condition under control, the researchers found. Those with insurance had better levels of blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol.

"Our findings suggest that the Affordable Care Act could have significant effects on chronic disease identification and management, but policy makers need to consider the possible implications of those effects for the demand for health care services and spending for chronic disease," the researchers wrote.

Reference

  1. Hogan DR et al. Health Aff. 2015;34(9):1554-1562.
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