Health reforms that increased access to coverage in Massachusetts and served as the archetype for the national healthcare law did not increase hospital utilization among young people diagnosed with behavioral health disorders, according to a study released this week.
The study, published online Feb. 19 in JAMA Psychiatry, looked at inpatient admissions before and after the state's implementation of comprehensive health reform in 2006.
The law, which was signed by then-Gov. Mitt Romney, was praised at the time for providing near universal coverage, but became a point of political derision during the 2012 presidential campaign when it was cited as the model for provisions within the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Critics of the ACA have argued an expansion of health coverage would result in higher healthcare costs as more newly insured individuals sought care.
The findings in this study showed hospital admission rates after 2006 for adults between ages 19 and 25 declined by an absolute of 2 per 1,000 patients where any behavioral health disorder was the primary diagnosis, .38 per 1,000 for depression and 1.3 per 1,000 for substance abuse. The number of uninsured among this age group also fell after 2006 from 26% to 10%.