This week’s study of Oregon Medicaid recipients has quickly become a Rorschach test for how partisans and health policy wonks view the health care law.
To recap, that study compared the health care of the winners and losers of a lottery held by Oregon in 2008 to decide who could enroll in the limited spots in the state’s Medicaid program. The study’s nuanced results were reflected in the varied headlines in news stories. The Associated Press declared “Depression rates for uninsured dropped with Medicaid coverage” while Bloomberg News announced that “Medicaid coverage may not improve the health of poor in U.S.”
Bloggers took the discrepancies and ran with them.
The liberal Daily Kos, like many supporters of the health law, focuses on the finding that people with Medicaid were less likely to have crippling medical bills:
The libertarian Cato Institute’s Michael Cannon says the study‘s lack of definitive proof of improved health should give governors more reason to turn down the law’s Medicaid expansion:
At the right-tilting American Enterprise Institute, James Pethokoukis says the results prove the health law’s promises were oversold.
Jonathan Cohn at the left-leaning New Republic asks whether conservatives “read the same study that I did?”
At the Incidental Economist, Austin Frakt and Aaron Carroll note that the study’s measures of people’s health were not comprehensive enough to draw definitive conclusions:
In a post titled “Misunderstanding Oregon,” Harvard’s Dr. Ashish K. Jha believes the study illustrates that “healthcare isn’t health; and the missing link is Quality”:
Time’s Kate Pickert lays the responsibility for Oregon’s limited improvements at the feet — and kidneys — of the patients themselves:
Yes, what do the patients have to say for themselves? Robert’s Stochastic thoughts blog highlights an online opinion from an actual patient who says he was one of the winners of Oregon’s lottery. The first-hand account, rare in all the coverage, is worth a lengthy excerpt:
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