Brief Report: Medicaid Expansion and Growth in the Workforce for Autism Spectrum Disorder

J Autism Dev Disord. 2022 Apr;52(4):1881-1889. doi: 10.1007/s10803-021-05044-2. Epub 2021 May 20.


Over 700,000 children throughout the U.S. have received insurance coverage through welcome mat effects of Medicaid expansion, including children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Utilizing health workforce data from the Health Resources and Services Administration, we examined workforce growth (2008-2017) among three types of health providers for children with ASD as a result of Medicaid expansion: child psychiatrists, board-certified behavioral analysts (BCBAs) and pediatricians. We found that state Medicaid expansion was associated with a 9% increase in BCBAs per 100,000 children one year after enactment, a 5% increase in child psychiatrists, and was not associated with growth in pediatricians. Results indicate the importance of new policies that directly address a shortage of providers for children with ASD.

Keywords: Autism; Autism spectrum disorder; Child psychiatrists; Medicaid expansion; Workforce.

MeSH terms

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder* / therapy
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Insurance Coverage
  • Medicaid*
  • Pediatricians
  • United States
  • Workforce