May 3 2013

Medicaid: Harmful to Health?

Charlotte Hays

A new study from the New England Journal of Medicine indicates that Medicaid—which was vastly expanded under ObamaCare—may make liberals feel good but does less to protect the health of poor people. The study concludes:

We found no significant effect of Medicaid coverage on the prevalence or diagnosis of hypertension or high cholesterol levels or on the use of medication for these conditions. Medicaid coverage significantly increased the probability of a diagnosis of diabetes and the use of diabetes medication, but we observed no significant effect on average glycated hemoglobin levels or on the percentage of participants with levels of 6.5% or higher. Medicaid coverage decreased the probability of a positive screening for depression (−9.15 percentage points; 95% confidence interval, −16.70 to −1.60; P=0.02), increased the use of many preventive services, and nearly eliminated catastrophic out-of-pocket medical expenditures.

Seth Mandel of Commentary magazine’s blog comments:

In other words, it’s a middle class-financed bailout of Medicaid beneficiaries, not a health care program. But it’s expensive, and it’s a major component of increased insurance coverage under ObamaCare. None of this is too surprising to conservative health policy analysts, who have been pointing this out for years. But it may come as a surprise to liberal supporters of ObamaCare who, as their reaction to opening arguments at the Supreme Court last year demonstrated, were shielded from the data by their furious commitment to epistemic closure.

ObamaCare was never really about the health of the populace. It was about rearranging society along the lines of a dream the left has had for decades. It was about Democrats in Congress being able to tell themselves they had “made history.” If the debate had been about improving medical care delivery, Congress would have voted for incremental changes that allowed tinkering to find what does best for people.

It is extremely important that we keep an eye on Congress (I almost said “our representatives in Congress”—silly me!), who reportedly tried to find ways to exempt themselves from the health care monstrosity they have created for the rest of us. If they do this, they will have less incentive to repeal the law. Our cry to Congress: Repeal it for us before you repeal it for your privileged selves.

Also don’t miss Avid Roy’s “Why Medicaid is a Humanitarian Catastrophe.”

 

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