Affordable Care Act May Change The Future of Diabetes

Changes in healthcare policy due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) could drastically alter outcomes for patients with diabetes, according to a new study.

Researchers from Brown School at Washington University found the impact of the ACA on diabetes care could potentially influence millions of people with the condition - mostly for the better.

"To the extent that the ACA increases access and coverage, uninsured people with diabetes are likely to significantly increase their healthcare use, which may lead to reduced incidence of diabetes complications and improved health," said Dr. Timothy McBride, co-author of the study and a professor and health economist at the Brown School.

Preventive care a key factor

The study examined factors like access to care, use of health care and costs associated with care for both uninsured and insured adults.

"Our findings showed that from 2011 through 2012, shortly after passage of ACA, nearly 2 million working-age adults with diabetes lacked health insurance," said study investigator Derek Brown, PhD. "We also showed that access to care was a significant barrier among this population, and that proper diabetes care lagged among the insured on all indicators."

Uninsured adults, specifically, had much lower rates of access to crucial diabetes preventive-care services - a key factor that often determines long-term outcomes for diabetics.

"In addition, the uninsured can experience health problems as a result of the lack of access to medical care," McBride said. "Although much research has focused on the general uninsured population, few studies have focused on the population with diabetes."

According to Brown, the study highlights the gap between the insured and the uninsured prior to the ACA - and how this gap may start to close in the coming years.

The study is published in Preventing Chronic Disease.

Source: Washington University in St. Louis

Image courtesy of hin255/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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