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New Article Explains Benefits of Expanding Medicaid


A new essay in the Journal of the American Median Association Health Forum, coauthored by Michigan Ross Professor Thomas Buchmueller, outlines the tangible benefits of expanding state Medicaid programs.

Thirty-six states and Washington, D.C., have taken advantage of a 2012 law that allows states to extend Medicaid coverage to all low-income adults. As Buchmueller and his coauthors write, these states have seen benefits in three key areas:

  • Improved health and financial well-being of low-income families.
  • A dramatic reduction in uncompensated care at hospitals.
  • Economic stimulus, particularly in employment numbers.

The authors — Buchmueller; Betsy Q. Cliff of the University of Illinois School of Public Health; and Helen Levy of the U-M Institute for Social Research — also explore possible reasons why 14 states have not yet expanded Medicaid, such as fears that it would discourage some people from working. 

“The Urban Institute has estimated that if all states adopted Medicaid expansion, 4.1 million individuals would gain coverage. The evidence is clear that this expansion would save lives and mitigate the tremendous ongoing economic damage resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic,” the authors conclude.


Thomas Buchmueller is the Senior Associate Dean for Faculty & Research; the Waldo O. Hildebrand Professor of Risk Management and Insurance; and a Professor of Business Economics and Public Policy at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.

Media Contact: Bridget Vis, Public Relations Specialist, visb@umich.edu

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Waldo O. Hildebrand Professor of Risk Management and Insurance
Professor of Business Economics and Public Policy