With the House scheduled to vote Wednesday on repealing health reform, and some governors vowing not to move forward with the law’s expansion of Medicaid to cover low-income adults, this is a good time to remind ourselves why Medicaid coverage is so beneficial.
In 2008, Oregon held a lottery to decide which low-income, uninsured adults on the state’s waiting list for Medicaid could apply for coverage. An all-star group of researchers has been studying what happened to those who got coverage and those who didn’t.
This sort of random assignment — comparing two groups of people who differ in only one major way — is the gold standard for scientific research. But it is extremely unusual in social policy research, since it is unethical to deny people something like health care just for the sake of an experiment.
As we reported earlier, the researchers have found that the people with Medicaid were, among other things:
Interviews by the New York Times put faces on these numbers and show how Medicaid benefited people in the study. For example:
The picture is very different for those who remain uninsured: