Dive Brief:

  • Higher primary care Medicaid reimbursement rates improve behavioral health outcomes among enrollees, according to a new report by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
  • The report analyzed spillover effects of the largest federally-mandated increase in Medicaid primary care reimbursement rates (between 2013 and 2014 through the Affordable Care Act) on behavioral health outcomes such as mental illness, substance use disorders (SUDs) and tobacco use over the time period 2010 to 2016.
  • The improvement in outcomes came without beneficiaries seeking more behavioral health services outside of primary care, suggesting that primary care providers are efficient in improving behavioral health among the Medicaid population.

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