According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Affordable Care Act will result in 16 million new Medicaid enrollees. A key question is whether the new population covered under Medicaid will be less healthy and thus be relatively expensive, or whether they will be healthier and therefore less expensive than the current Medicaid population. The answer to this question depends largely on the level of Medicaid participation rates under reform. Using the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) to provide a detailed look at the demographic and health characteristics of the population who will be newly eligible for Medicaid, we conclude that on average, this population is likely to be healthier and less costly than those currently enrolled in Medicaid.
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