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Medicaid Expansion Tied to Reduction in Crime

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From the Crime Report:

 

 

States which exercised the option to expand Medicaid eligibility under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) experienced a 3% decrease in the annual rate of reported crimes compared to non-expansive states, according to an analysis of crime data figures between 2010 and 2015.

 

The study found that the reductions in state-level crime rates were largest in counties that experienced the largest changes in insurance rates following the expansion of Medicaid eligibility in 2014.

 

The study, entitled “Access to Health Care and Criminal Behavior: Short-Run Evidence from the ACA Medicaid Expansions,” tracked figures from the FBI Uniform Crime Reports and the Census bureau since the ACA removed restrictions on treatment for states that chose to expand Medicaid eligibility, and based eligibility solely on income.

 

According to figures cited by the study author, Jacob E. Vogler, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, of the estimated 15 million individuals newly eligible for Medicaid coverage under the ACA, one third had prior criminal justice involvement.

 

Under the Medicaid expansion, these individuals could receive coverage for a wide range of treatments for mental illness, substance use disorders, and chronic diseases.

 

Approximately 70 percent of individuals with a criminal history have a substance use disorder, mental health issue, and/or serious physical medical condition. These conditions may lead to criminal behavior and incarceration without adequate insurance coverage.

 

It kind of makes sense. Imagine the guy with bi-polar disorder who, instead of going into overdrive and hear voices that tell him to rob a quicki mart, instead gets treatment meaning, instead that he levels out and stays home and watches Saturday Night Live.

 

Of course the CBO doesn't typically input these 'savings' - estimated at $400 million - into the cost estimate or benefit of the policy. And even this analysis doesn't include the savings associated with that same bi-polar individual staying at home and enriching the life of his children who may go on to invent some new device that makes billions.

 

What we know is that incarcerating over 3 million Americans at a cost well above the $55 billion annually cited in another post (a 2007 figure) represents little social value for the inmates or for society. BTW: three percent of $55 billion is $1.65 billion

 

I think the most important aspect of the ACA and th expansion of medicaid for the poor is that providing these programs of health insurance is a positive expression that we as a nation care for and value these people for who they are. the knowledge that people care for these people is a powerful expression that is worse than reversed by repeal.

 

The reason is that repeal of these programs tells the millions of poor folks we don't care for them meaning that, if they confront someone - even a cop - on the street, the belief is that this person represents an uncaring society that would step over them if they collapsed from a medical condition.

 

Said differently, if we don't care for their medical disorder, they won't care about our concerns for social disorder.

 

pubby

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