HealthDay News — For middle-aged adults, counties in states that expanded Medicaid had a significantly smaller increase in cardiovascular mortality rates after expansion compared with states without expansion, according to a study published online June 5 in JAMA Cardiology.

Sameed Ahmed M. Khatana, M.D., from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues examined the correlation between Medicaid expansion and cardiovascular mortality rates in middle-aged adults. A difference-in-differences approach was used with county-level data from counties in 48 states and Washington, D.C., from 2010 to 2016.

The researchers found that counties in expansion states had a greater decrease in the percentage of uninsured residents at all income levels (7.3 versus 5.6 percent) and in low-income strata (19.8 versus 13.5 percent) versus counties in Medicaid nonexpansion states. Compared with counties in nonexpansion states, counties in expansion states had a smaller change in cardiovascular mortality rates after expansion (146.5 to 146.4 deaths per 100,000 residents versus 176.3 to 180.9 deaths per 100,000 residents). Counties in expansion states had 4.3 fewer deaths per 100,000 residents per year from cardiovascular causes after Medicaid expansion than if they had followed trends in nonexpansion states, after accounting for demographic, clinical, and economic differences.

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“Our study does show that at a population level, expanding Medicaid was associated with a reduction in deaths from cardiovascular disease,” Khatana said in a statement.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical industry.

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