A new study is the first to measure access to preventative health care services after the Affordable Care Act, or ACA.
The study looked at low-income adults without children in 30 states, including Indiana, where Medicaid has been expanded. It finds these adults are accessing more preventative care services like immunizations, screenings and mammograms.
Indiana University researcher and professor Kosali Simon co-authored the paper and says prevention is one goal of the ACA.
“Encouraging healthier behaviors and preventative care and that would lead down the road to more cost savings for everybody,” says Simon.
Conversely, the study did not find an improvement in risky behaviors like smoking and obesity, but also did not find a worsening of these factors. It did find an increase in self-assessed health outcomes, like fewer reported poor health days.
A repeal of the ACA is underway in Congress and the future of reform is unknown. Simon says a study like this can be helpful in finding the best answers when considering a replacement.
“It’s really important to investigate those questions and have those results be part of what happens in discussions,” Simon says.
The report includes data through 2015.