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Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

A new study pours even more cold water — and there's already been a lot of cold water here — on the idea that the Medicaid expansion has fueled the opioid epidemic.

The details: The study, from the University of Pennsylvania’s Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, shows that the rate of overdose deaths in Medicaid expansion states is lower, not higher, than in non-expansion states.

  • It looks at three states that expanded Medicaid before the Affordable Care Act: Arizona, Maine and New York. (The authors say that’s because the opioid epidemic was already underway when the ACA’s Medicaid expansion began.)
  • It found that opioid deaths rose more slowly in those states than in nearby states that didn’t expand Medicaid, as well as in all non-expansion states.

The bottom line: A lot of the “Medicaid is bad for opioids” argument is built on the idea that Medicaid expansion gives people more access to opioids. But multiple studies have questioned that theory, and Medicaid expansion is also a critical avenue to expand treatment for addiction.

Go deeper

U.S. grants temporary protected status to thousands of Venezuelans

Venezuelan citizens participate in the vote for the popular consultation in December 2020, as part of a protest against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in Doral, Florida. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP

Venezuelans living in the United States will be eligible to receive temporary protected status for 18 months, the Department of Homeland Security announced Monday.

Why it matters: Tens of thousands of Venezuelans have fled to the U.S. amid economic, political and social turmoil back home. Former President Trump, on his last full day in office, granted some protections to Venezuelans through the U.S. Deferred Enforced Departure program, but advocates and lawmakers said the move didn't go far enough.

"She-cession" threatens economic recovery

Illustration: Sarah Grillo

Decades of the slow economic progress women made catching up to men evaporated in just one year.

Why it matters: As quickly as those gains were erased, it could take much, much longer for them to return — a warning Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen issued today.