Cardiac arrest rates drop in Oregon after Medicaid expansion
After Oregon expanded its Medicaid program in 2014, the number of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests among people ages 45-64 in Multnomah County dropped by 17%, according to a study in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
The county, which includes Portland, Oregon’s largest city, has about 290,800 residents.
People with insurance are more likely to receive routine, preventive care that can mitigate their risks for heart disease as well as cardiac arrest, said Dr. Sumeet Chugh, an author of the study and associate director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles.
“There is no question that having health insurance leads to a better quality of life and lower mortality, overall,” Chugh said. “If you take a severe condition like cardiac arrest, that is mostly lethal, health insurance makes a difference.”
Cardiac arrest is the leading cause of unexpected death in the U.S. and affects about 320,000 people per year, according to the American Heart Association. The fatality rate of an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest is also incredibly high, at about 70% to 90%.
The authors chose to focus on Oregon because the state was an early adopter of Medicaid expansion, and a state study on sudden unexpected deaths offered comprehensive details on cardiac arrest incidents in the Portland area.
More middle-aged Multnomah County residents acquired health insurance through Medicaid than other means, with an approximate 6.5 percentage-point increase after Medicaid expansion, from 7% to 13.5%. Insurance through direct-purchasing rose from 8.2% to 10% in the same period.