Tulane study: Medicaid expansion correlates with earlier diabetes diagnoses

March 24, 2015

Arthur Nead
Phone: 504-247-1443


Dr. Vivian Fonseca, Tullis–Tulane Alumni Chair in Diabetes and Professor of Medicine (photo: Paula Burch-Celentano)

Early detection of diabetes is more frequent in states that have instituted Medicaid expansion than in states that have not accepted Medicaid funds, according to a new study in “Diabetes Care.”

In 2014, 26 states and the District of Columbia expanded Medicaid following passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), while 24 states did not. The study examines the impact of new healthcare coverage created by Medicaid expansion on diabetes diagnosis and treatment.

Using records from Quest Diagnostics, which maintains a large clinical laboratory database, the researchers identified patients ages 19-64 newly diagnosed with diabetes. The researchers found that the number of Medicaid-enrolled patients with newly diagnosed diabetes increased by 23 percent in the 26 states and District of Columbia that expanded Medicaid while in the 24 states that did not expand Medicaid, the number of patients increased by just 0.4 percent.

“It is likely that changes in access to health care for patients with Medicaid contributed to testing for diabetes at an earlier stage of disease,” say the researchers. “We postulate that these Medicaid patients with new identified diabetes will experience better management of their disease than if diagnoses had been made later. This could be anticipated to lead to fewer long-term complications.”

“Further research is needed on this important topic not just in regard to diabetes but also for other chronic diseases like hypertension,” says study member Dr. Vivian Fonseca, Tullis–Tulane Alumni Chair in Diabetes and Professor of Medicine, Tulane University School of Medicine. “In our population there are a lot of disparities in terms of health outcomes. It would be important to see if these disparities related to ethnic groups and socio-economic issues are reduced or eliminated by the ACA-related Medicaid expansion.”



Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000