Saturday, April 5, 2014

Who's Helping Whom?

For decades, a series of studies have raised red flags. Surgery patients, cancer victims, and transplant recipients who were enrolled in the program were all found to fare worse—not merely than privately-insured patients with presumably easier lives, but worse than equally poor people who lacked any insurance at all. This literature was capped off by the landmark “Oregon study,” a brand-new analysis that marshals gold-standard methodology to compare Medicaid recipients with uninsured people.
The scholars found mixed results. Medicaid does lower psychological stress and increase financial stability, results we would expect from any transfer program. But the program actually increases unnecessary trips to the emergency room. And remarkably, Medicaid coverage has no measurable impact whatsoever on clinical health.

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