Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Over reactions and Dumb conclusions regarding Oregon Medicaid study surprising, even Disappointing.

Uh oh, even wonkish Ezra Klein fell for a recent study out of Oregon, that tells us little, and means almost nothing. I placed numbers on the items I found controversial:
NY Times: A study comparing low-income people in Oregon who received access to Medicaid over the past two years with those who did not, found that (1) those on Medicaid visited doctors and hospitals more often, (2) suffered less from depression and were more financially secure. That said, (3) the Medicaid recipients saw little average improvement in blood pressure, blood sugar and other measures.
My quick take:
(1) For those who haven't seen a doctor in years, when offered the chance to do so, were eager for the opportunity. Kids in a candy shop. Americans are starved for health care.

(2) Once Medicaid patients saw the doctor, they were less worried about their health, suffered less depression and felt financially secure. The benefits alone of feeling financially secure is economically and emotionally liberating. It seems that would be a huge benefit to society. The study by the way found many new Medicaid patients suffered from depression, which resulted in treatment. That's bad?

(3) So it's waste of money to see if people are healthy? Do healthy people feel relieved and perform better at work? Ya think? And comparing healthy people covered by Medicaid, with healthy people not covered...that means no one needs health care coverage? Hello, we've got an immensely dysfunctional and deadly private health care system now, doesn't that count for anything? Not according to all the partisan and clueless pundits. Keep in mind, no one shops when they're faced with a life threatening accident or disease. They don't shop for health care when they're healthy either. And everybody gambles on never being sick.
Finally, the study drew this conclusion:
(4) Some have said the study demonstrates that by focusing on routine care, such health insurance provides meager results at great cost. (5) Should health insurance, particularly government programs, provide only catastrophic coverage?
My quick take: 
(4) I never take seriously anything that starts with "some say." Yeah, some will say anything.

(5) Catastrophic programs discourage people from seeing doctors, making outcomes worse if not deadly. How does that make economic sense? That's the kind of system we're supposedly trying to move away from. What's most outrageous about this study is how conservatives are using it to go back to the nothing, lousy, deadly system we have now. Like it's the best we can do, a wonderful fall back position? Around the world, universal care has proven itself to be massively better and economically cheaper. 

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