Oregon Medicaid Study Proves Obamacare is Useless!!11!!1

Because it is not improving blood pressure or cholesterol!!!

Wait, what?  What’s going on here?

So, a couple of years back Oregon had money to provide Medicaid to 10,000 people but unfortunately there were many more who needed it.  So they held a lottery and then had the idea of studying the random people who got picked for Medicaid coverage against a control group of people who didn’t get picked.  Some preliminary results were published several months back and now they have the rest of the results.  Led by the shrieking of the CATO Institute, righties are now declaring Obamacare to be a useless failure.  Mostly because blood pressure readings and cholesterol levels were not measurably different between the two groups. 

McArgleBlargle takes to her keyboard to proclaim that giving people government health insurance does not make them healthier and in fact maybe health insurance (for the poors) itself is a waste of money!

And it’s actually bigger, and more important than Obamacare.  We should all be revising our priors about how much health insurance—or at least Medicaid—really promotes health.  What this really tells us is how little we know about health care, and making people healthy—and how often data can confound even our most powerful intuitions.

“Or at least Medicaid” she says.  Which is, you know, what poor people, many of them with brown skins, use. 

But why is Medicaid health insurance such a waste of McMegan’s money?  Well let’s see what the report said:


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.


This randomized, controlled study showed that Medicaid coverage generated no significant improvements in measured physical health outcomes in the first 2 years, but it did increase use of health care services, raise rates of diabetes detection and management, lower rates of depression, and reduce financial strain.

Maybe I’m missing something here but I do not find these results to indicate giving Medicaid to these people is a huge, catastrophic failure and waste of (our) money!  True, blood pressure and cholesterol levels stayed the same.  But many, many people were diagnosed as diabetic and gotten on medicine.  (And I guess diabetes is just chopped liver or something.)

Even more significant to me - people didn’t have to declare bankruptcy to pay huge medical bills, doctors and hospitals didn’t have to write off these costs and raise costs for everyone else and patients weren’t as depressed!  I, frankly, do not consider any of these things to be chopped liver either.  The financial aspect alone is huge and, in case we’ve forgotten, the real name of the actual bill is the Affordable Care Act.  As in, you don’t have to sell your house if you get cancer.

As far as decreasing mortality rates and improving overall health, I really don’t think a 2 year study of a few thousand participants is going to produce much information on these subjects anyway.  The Nurse’s Health Study, which has provided masses of useful information about women’s health has been going on since frickin’ 1976. 

So, nice try on this one guys, but I don’t think this study means what you think it means.

Posted by marindenver on 05/02/13 at 05:39 PM • Permalink

Categories: PoliticsBarack ObamaBedwettersHealth CareNutters

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I suspect that somehow McMEMEMEgan and company are making bank on the medical foreclosures; I just can’t prove it yet.

On the flip side, of course this could prove that Medicaid studies are worthless. Just thinkin’.

McMegan and numbers?  Always a disaster waiting to happen.

Led by the shrieking of the CATO Institute, righties are now declaring Obamacare to be a useless failure.

Ironic, seeing that Obamacare was cooked up by right-wing think tanks as an alternative to Hilarycare.

This is like expecting that having car insurance decreases car accidents.

Detecting high cholesterol and hypertension is only one part of making a person healthier. If one still can’t afford to change their diet, cholesterol will not get much better, even though medication will make some improvement. Dietary changes are necessary to make a real difference and low income people have a harder time affording the foods that really make a difference. Blood pressure has a great deal to do with diet, but is also affected by circumstances. People who are low income frequently have high stress levels due to circumstances they live under. Combined with the poor dietary choices, those kinds of conditions are only going to show slight improvement. That doesn’t mean that the access to health care doesn’t help, it only means that it isn’t the only part of the solution.

@MTinMO - good points.  And knowing that you have access to affordable health care for yourself and your family should certainly help with the stress.

Do people really not get that just diagnosing and treating diabetes in a poor population that has not been receiving medical care is a huge step forward? Untreated diabetes leads to blindness and amputations.  The other stuff: lowering cholesterol etc… are proxies for the real goal of getting people in to see primary care physicians on a regular basis which is identifying and then managing chronic conditions before they become completely disabling or require ER care.  This shit is going to cost money. It is going to improve people’s lives and STILL COST MONEY.  We know that it’s important for people to have health insurance so they can gain access to regular health care because Zero, count ‘em Zero rich people “go naked” for coverage unless they can afford to buy a private island.

Do people really not get that just diagnosing and treating diabetes in a poor population that has not been receiving medical care is a huge step forward?

Aimai, you’re one of the shrewdest people on the ‘tubes, so I hope you’ll forgive me for butchering Sinclair: it is difficult to make a woman “get” something when her paychecks come from CATO.

“So, nice try on this one guys, but I don’t think this study means what you think it means.”

Who knows what they really think it means? They’re saying what they want it to mean, that’s all. That, as always, is all that matters to them.

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