The authors write that under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act-mandated Medicaid expansion, patients who have historically been denied Medicaid coverage will now have access to a healthcare plan equivalent to a benchmark plan chosen by the state. The Medicaid plan will be required to cover 10 essential benefit categories, including regular health screenings. While Medicaid expansion should benefit physicians by reducing the volume of uncompensated care, some patients may have difficulty finding a physician who is willing to accept new Medicaid patients.
Another looming challenge is that patients in states that are unwilling to expand Medicaid are likely to remain uninsured and hospitals in those states will continue to absorb uncompensated care costs. According to the authors, states that refuse to expand Medicaid coverage "are forgoing an opportunity for their poor citizens to achieve financial peace of mind, obtain a regular source of medical care, and receive preventive services to help stave off serious complications."