June 19, 2013

SINCE IT'S FUNDAMENTALLY AN ECONOMIC PROGRAM...

Medicaid's Impact : Randomized study sheds light on the effect of expanding health-care coverage (Peter Dizikes, June 18, 2013, MIT Technology Review)

Enrollment in Medicaid helps lower-income Americans overcome depression, get proper treatment for diabetes, and avoid catastrophic medical bills, but it does not appear to reduce the near-term prevalence of diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol, according to a new study coauthored by MIT economist Amy Finkelstein. [...]

The researchers worked with the Oregon Health Study Group to analyze Medicaid's impact over a two-year span. They found about a 30 percent decline in the rate of depression among people on Medicaid over that time, thanks to treatment; an increased probability of being diagnosed with, and treated for, diabetes; and increases in use of preventive care. They also found that Medicaid reduced, by about 80 percent, the chance of having catastrophic out-of-pocket medical expenses, defined as spending 30 percent of one's annual income on health care.

"That's important, because from an economics point of view, the purpose of health insurance is to ... protect you financially," says Finkelstein. She and Katherine Baicker of Harvard University's School of Public Health led the study.


...make it a more generous one, with HSAs that transfer actual wealth to recipients.
Posted by at June 19, 2013 5:12 AM
  
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