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Expanding Coverage Means More People Can Get Treatment for Chronic Diseases

Recent headlines were startling: In states that expanded Medicaid, new diagnoses of diabetes increased 23%, while in states that have not expanded, the increase was just 0.4%. But, according to health care professionals, that’s good news! When financial barriers to care were reduced, more people were encouraged to get tested and to take control of their disease, and that can mean improved health care outcomes down the road.

Diabetes is one of the most prevalent chronic conditions and is a leading cause of death in the United States. People with diabetes are at increased risk of serious health problems including heart disease and stroke, hypertension, blindness, kidney disease and amputations. Diabetes disproportionately affects low-income populations, which is why Medicaid plays a key role in providing care for people with the disease. Nearly all (97%) of Medicaid beneficiaries with diabetes said they had a usual source of care, as opposed to less than 80% of people with diabetes who were uninsured.

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