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The State Budget Solutions report argues that “expanded Medicaid does not guarantee ... effective health care.” It cites a New England Journal of Medicine study of Medicaid expansion in Oregon, which found that while new enrollees had less stress, they had no “measureable improvements in physical health outcomes.” It also cites a 2010 study by U.Va. that found the “in-hospital mortality rate for Medicaid recipients who went under the knife was 13 percent higher” than for the uninsured. The study found “Medicaid payer status was associated with the longest length of stay and highest total costs” — and that’s after “controlling for age, gender, income, geographic region,” and so on.
To the most inflexible advocates of expansion, none of this will matter: There’s a dictator out there trying to build weapons of mass destruction (figuratively speaking). He has to be stopped, so it’s time to go all in. But don’t worry, victory will be cheap and swift.
For everyone else, though, the question should look a little more nuanced.
This article originally appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.