- The Washington Times - Monday, July 10, 2017

Medicaid beneficiaries across the country are largely satisfied with their coverage and access to care, according to an analysis of a wide-ranging national survey evaluating enrollees’ experiences with the government insurance program.

The survey, which took place between December 2014 and July 2015, gathered responses from over 270,000 Medicaid enrollees part of four insurance programs and was administered by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services.

The analysis was conducted by researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and its results were published as a research letter in the Journal of the American Medical Association on Monday.

Among the survey questions, researchers asked respondents to provide an overall health care rating on a scale of zero to 10, with zero being the “worst health care possible” and 10 “the best health care possible.”

Across all demographics, including gender, race, age and medicaid programs specific to U.S. states, respondents were overwhelmingly satisfied with all aspects of their insurance, providing a 7.9 rating out of 10.

“I think this data is pretty conclusive that people who are enrolled in Medicaid are happy with their coverage,” Dr. Michael Barnett, the lead author of the study, said in an interview with The Washington Times.

Dr. Barnett added that the population surveyed were enrollees before the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and that they fell into four categories of coverage: people with disabilities; individuals enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid; non-disabled adults in managed care; and non-disabled adults in fee-for-service medical care.

Other findings included that 46 percent of respondents rated their Medicaid coverage a nine out of 10 and only 7.6 percent of respondents gave a rating under five.

More specifically, 84 percent of respondents said they were able to get “all the care that they or their physician believed was necessary in the past 6 months.”

“I think we were surprised by the consistency across the different subgroups,” Dr. Barnett said. “There’s not a lot of variation in the kind of mean overall satisfaction across different eligibility groups, ages, races, states, things like that.”

He further explained that surveying these groups provides a snapshot of the core population that benefits from the government health insurance program and can better help inform the debate surrounding budget appropriations for Medicaid that will affect a group largely satisfied with their services.

“There is rhetoric out there that Medicaid is failing to deliver high quality care to enrollees. I hope this can inform the debate by stating that Medicaid enrollees are largely satisfied with their care and are able to access care with their coverage,” he said.

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