By Hailey Mensik | Jan. 5, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has already bludgeoned hospitals’ finances amid stay-at-home orders and widespread cancellations in elective procedures. Now a surge in unemployment rendering some patients unable to access or pay for care is posing a threat to long-term recovery efforts.

But lost revenue may be easier for hospitals in states that have expanded Medicaid to make up than for those in states that haven’t, researchers from the Urban Institute writing in Health Affairs suggest.

Using data from the American Hospital Association and CMS, they built on previous studies estimating the effects of Medicaid expansion on hospitals’ finances with more recent figures through 2017. Thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia have expanded Medicaid while 12 states have not, though legislators can scale back or reverse existing Medicaid expansions, and some have tried.

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