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What is the Oregon Medicaid study and what does it mean for taxpayers?

Douglas Kellogg
May 15, 2013

The results of a unique study on Medicaid in Oregon published by the New England Journal of Medicine are flying around the health care policy community – and they carry significant weight for taxpayers.

For the first time ever a state held a lottery to determine a new pool of people who would be granted access to Medicaid. This special circumstance created two groups: those who ultimately won the lottery and participated in Medicaid, and those who did not. Economists tracked these groups and were able to make judgments on how Medicaid changed (or not) the lives of participants…

So what’s the bottom line?! The significant finding is that Medicaid made no real difference in the health of a person. At the end of the two-year study, both groups had essentially the same health outcomes.

This means Medicaid may amount to the world’s most expensive placebo.

The study essentially found that ‘financial stability’ was the only benefit of Medicaid. So, someone on Medicaid is only better off than someone not in the program because he/she doesn’t have to pay for health insurance.

With “Obamacare” pushing a Medicaid expansion estimated to cost taxpayers $800 billion, the results of this new study demand states exercise their power under the Supreme Court’s Affordable Care Act decision to refuse.

Otherwise, taxpayers will undergo a painful cash transplant procedure that deposits their hard-earned money in government coffers and results in no health benefits.

For just a couple ways to learn more about the study check out Forbes’ article, “Four Reasons Why The Oregon Medicaid Results Are Even Worse Than They Look”; and “EconTalk’s” interview on the subject.


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