Medicaid Expansion Under the Affordable Care Act and Pediatric Trauma Patient Insurance Coverage

Sarah C. Stokes, Kaeli J. Yamashiro, Ganesh Rajasekar, Miriam A. Nuño, Edgardo S. Salcedo, Alana L. Beres

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Uninsured pediatric trauma patients are at increased risk of poor outcomes. The impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) on pediatric trauma patients has not been studied. We hypothesized that the expansion of Medicaid coverage under the ACA was associated with increased insurance coverage and improved outcomes. Methods: Retrospective review of patients <18 y old presenting to a level 1 pediatric trauma center 2009-2019. An interrupted time series analysis was performed to assess the impact of Medicaid expansion under the ACA in January 2014. The primary outcome was rate of insurance coverage. Secondary outcomes included in-hospital mortality, disposition, 30-day readmission, length of stay (LOS), and intensive care unit (ICU) LOS. Results: A total of 5645 patients were evaluated, (pre-ACA n = 2,243, post-ACA n = 3402). Expansion of Medicaid was associated with minimal changes on insurance coverage. There a decrease in mortality (RR = 0.96, P = 0.0355) and a slight increase in disposition to a rehabilitation facility (RR = 1.02, P = 0.0341). There was no association with 30-day readmission (RR = 1.02, P = 0.3498). Similarly, expansion of Medicaid was not associated with change in LOS (estimate = −0.00, P = 0.8893). There was a slight decrease in ICU LOS (estimate = −0.03, P < 0.0001). Conclusions: Medicaid expansion was associated with marginal changes in insurance coverage among pediatric trauma patients. We did not identify significant impacts on patient outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-17
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • Health insurance
  • Pediatric trauma
  • Socioeconomic determinants of health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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