One health-care provider described a 64-year-old patient getting his first medical exam in 40 years.
Another provider told of asthma patients who finally had access to inhalers and pulmonary lung function tests.
A third provider said patients were no longer “petrified” of whether they could afford needed medical care.
Healthy Michigan, Michigan’s Medicaid expansion plan that began in 2014, has made a real difference in the lives of many patients, according to a University of Michigan survey of 2,100 primary-care providers.
“It’s provided access to many people who lacked medical coverage for years,” said Dr. John Ayanian, director of U-M’s Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, which conducted the survey
Ayanian also is senior author on a study of the survey results published in the current Journal of General Internal Medicine.
He said the survey showed that it wasn’t just patients who benefited: More than half of the health-care providers surveyed said their practices have expanded staff to accommodate the influx of new patients.
“Medical offices may have provided charity or uncompensated care in the past, but now that they’re getting paid for it, they’re able to hire new staff,” Ayanian said. “It shows the system has been able to adapt.”