The Obamacare law pushes states to expand their Medicaid programs to serve as a landing pad for all the lower-income people who will likely lose their health insurance as the law becomes fully implemented. Here in North Dakota our legislature, and Governor Jack Dalrymple, passed the expansion which will represent in a 46% increase in enrollments in the state.
That’s a massive inflation of what is already the largest and most costly entitlement program in the state.
We’re told, by way of justifying the expansion, that it will mean more people covered and a healthier society. But will it, really? According to a study just published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Medicaid has no measurable impact on health:
In its second-year results, the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment, which randomly assigned Medicaid to 10,000 people in Oregon, and compared them with a randomly selected control group, found that those who got Medicaid did not on average have healthier blood pressure, cholesterol levels, or diabetic blood pressure control than those who did not get Medicaid. Those with Medicaid did see some reduction in out of pocket health expenses. They were also less likely to be diagnosed with depression.
The Medicaid recipients also ended up utilizing a lot more health care—care that has to be paid for—than those who didn’t get coverage. But they didn’t use the emergency room any less than the control group.
These are devastating findings for the Medicaid program, and perhaps more so for Obamacare which counts on Medicaid to account for more than half of its increase in insurance coverage.
Put simply, Medicaid isn’t making anyone healthier. It’s not reducing emergency room visits. It’s not really decreasing out-of-pocket costs. But it is running up government spending, and thus the cost to taxpayers, enormously.