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Coverage and Access for Americans with Cardiovascular Disease or Risk Factors After the ACA: a Quasi-experimental Study.

Barghi A, Torres H, Kressin NR, McCormick D. Coverage and Access for Americans with Cardiovascular Disease or Risk Factors After the ACA: a Quasi-experimental Study. Journal of general internal medicine. 2019 Sep 1; 34(9):1797-1805.

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BACKGROUND: Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in the USA. Many with CVD or cardiovascular risk factors (CVRFs) lacked insurance coverage and access to care before enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). OBJECTIVE: To assess the effect of the ACA on insurance coverage, access to care, and racial/ethnic disparities among non-elderly adults with CVD or CVRFs. DESIGN: Quasi-experimental policy intervention. PARTICIPANTS: Nationally representative, non-institutionalized sample of 1,014,450 adults aged 18 to 64 years with CVD or at least 2 established CVRFs in the pre-ACA (2012-2013) and post-ACA (2015-2016) periods. INTERVENTION: Implementation of ACA provisions on 1 January 2014. MAIN MEASURES: Insurance coverage, having a check-up, having a personal physician, and not having to forgo a needed physician visit because of cost. KEY RESULTS: Following ACA implementation, insurance coverage increased by 6.9 percentage points (95% CI, 6.6 to 7.2), not having to forgo a physician visit increased by 3.6 percentage points (CI, 3.3 to 3.9), having a check-up increased by 2.1 percentage points (CI, 1.8 to 2.6), and having a personal physician increased by 1 percentage point (0.6 to 1.3); changes were approximately doubled for those with lower incomes ( < $35,000/year). Changes in coverage varied substantially by state and all outcomes improved more in Medicaid expansion states. Although racial/ethnic minorities had greater improvements in some outcomes, approximately 13% black and 29% Hispanic adults continued to lack coverage and access to care post-ACA. CONCLUSION: The ACA increased coverage and access for adults with CVD or multiple CVRFs; substantial gaps remain, particularly for minorities and those in Medicaid non-expansion states.

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