If you read one thing on Medicaid…

Here’s an excellent Kaiser Health News column by John McDonough, on the results of that hugely important Oregon study on Medicaid.

Here’s some quotes:

The lucky Oregonians newly enrolled in Medicaid experienced:
 A 30 percent increase in the probability of a hospital admission.

 A 15 percent increase in the probability of taking a prescription drug.
 A 35 percent increase in the probability of having an outpatient visit.
 A 25 percent decline in the probability of having an unpaid medical bill sent to a collection agency.
 A 35 percent decline in having any out-of-pocket medical expenditures.
 Across-the-board improvements in self-reported physical and mental health, including “a general sense of improved well-being.”

…All four measures of financial strain — out-of-pocket medical costs, medical debts, refusal of treatment because of the cost of care or skipping payment of other bills to pay medical expenses — showed significant declines for these new enrollees. No wonder, then, that researchers found “an overwhelming sense from the survey outcomes that individuals feel better about their health and … their interactions with the health care system. … The evidence suggests that people feel better off due to insurance.”

Coverage matters. Medicaid matters. That’s why the debt ceiling talks which threaten to cut Medicaid matter, and why the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid in 2014 matters.

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.

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