Practice Patterns in Medicaid and Non-Medicaid Asthma Admissions

In Pediatrics, Jeffrey Silber and colleagues investigate whether Medicaid and non-Medicaid patients admitted to the hospital for asthma are treated differently in major children’s hospitals. Medicaid provider reimbursement levels can be significantly lower than private insurance reimbursements, making it important to analyze whether this impacts the health care received by Medicaid beneficiaries. The authors used data from 40 children’s hospitals to analyze more than 17,000 matched pairs of Medicaid to non-Medicaid children admitted for asthma in the same hospital over three years. Patients were matched on age, sex, asthma severity, and other characteristics. The authors find that although the Medicaid patients’ median cost was significantly higher than that of non-Medicaid patients ($4,263 versus $4,160), the cost differences within pairs, as well as the length of stay and ICU use were not significantly different.