Full implementation of the Affordable Care Act’s national health insurance expansion could result in many more elective surgeries, based on how utilization changed after Massachusetts’ insurance reform. The study, co-authored by Dr. John Ayanian, professor of health management and policy, discovered a 9.3 percent increase in discretionary surgery in Massachusetts and a 4.5 percent decrease in non-discretionary surgery from 2003 through 2010.
[Photo: Dr. John Ayanian]
“Our collective findings suggest that insurance expansion leads to greater utilization of discretionary inpatient procedures that are often performed to improve quality of life rather than to address immediately life-threatening conditions,” says Dr. Chandy Ellimoottil, one of the authors. The results of the study are published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.