Study: Reducing dropout rate would save millions in Medicaid spending
SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) -
A new study by the Alliance for Excellent Education says that cutting the high school dropout rate by 50-percent could save the state as much as $119 million dollars a year in Medicaid spending.
In Caddo Parish, 947 students dropped out of high school last year. That number has actually gone down in the past 5 years, even as the state has battled the overall dropout rate for years.
The research shows that a high school graduate is about 50-percent less likely to use Medicaid, compared to a high school dropout. Those who have not completed high school tend to have fewer opportunities for good-paying jobs and often have to rely on publicly funded hospitals for health care.
"Louisiana ranks 49th in literacy and 50th in overall health, infant mortality, diabetes, breast cancer deaths, 49th in obesity and 48th in preventable hospitalizations, so all of those ratchet up the cost of health care," says Terry Davis, a professor in the Departments of Medicine and Pediatrics at LSU Health Sciences Center.
One way they are trying to lower the dropout rate in Caddo Parish is by offering career diplomas. There were more than 900 students in the career diploma program last year.
If the findings of the Alliance for Excellent Education study hold true, the more students that graduate with their diplomas or complete programs like these, the more likely they'll become self-sufficient and less likely to rely on public services.