"Medicaid is Health Overhaul's Early Success Story" & Other Awful Obamacare Outcomes

As President Obama’s
signature legislative accomplishment (read: debacle bigger than
stimulus, debt, TARP, kill lists, etc.
) continues to founder,
expect more misinformed stories such as this one from the AP:

Medicaid is health overhaul’s early success story

The underdog of government health care programs is emerging as
the rare early success story of President Barack Obama’s
technologically challenged health overhaul.

Often dismissed, Medicaid has signed up 444,000 people in 10
states in the six weeks since open enrollment began, according to
Avalere Health, a market analysis firm that compiled data from
those states. Twenty-five states are expanding their Medicaid
programs, but data for all of them was not available….

Read the article here

This is not good news either for recipients of Medicaid or for
taxpayers footing the bill for the program’s expansion.

It can’t be said enough that there is little evidence that
Medicaid improves health

There’s little evidence that Medicaid coverage improves the
health and longevity of beneficiaries. For instance, a major 2010
University of Virginia study found
that for patients undergoing major surgical procedures, those on
Medicaid were 93 percent more likely to die than patients with
private insurance, while the uninsured were just 74 percent more
likely to die. Such
awful outcomes
 for Medicaid patients are found in a
variety of studies looking at cancer, heart problems, and other

Evidence from the widely respected Oregon Health Insurance
Experiment, which compared the health of Medicaid recipients to a
control group, found “that
Medicaid coverage generated no significant improvements in measured
physical health outcomes in the first 2 years.” Such results are
broadly consistent with findings that insurance status has little
or no impact on longevity. In 2009, for instance, Columbia
economist Frank Lichtenburg published a study looking at longevity
in states between 1991 and 2004 and concluded that
“growth in life expectancy was uncorrelated across states with
health insurance coverage and education.”

If it’s not clear
that Medicaid helps people get and stay healthy, one thing is for
sure: The program, which is already either the single-biggest or
second-biggest annual budget item for every state in the country,
spends huge amounts of money and that will only

Medicaid has for a long time posted year-over-year spending
increases. Between 2000 and 2011 (PDF),
the average increase was 6.8 percent and total expenditures on the
program came to $432 billion in 2011 (PDF).
The Department of Health and Human Services estimates that annual
increases will average about 6.4 percent until 2021, when the
federal government and states will spend $795 billion on the

Read more here.

You got that? “The rare early success story” of Obamacare is
that a massively expensive program that doesn’t actually accomplish
its core objective has jacked up the number of people enrolled in
it. The one benefit of Medicaid is that it reduces the likelihood
of medically induced bankruptcy for some recipients.
There’s an easier and more effective way
to accomplish

So break out the champagne because Medicaid is booming? We
really can’t afford to do that now and will be even less likely in
a few years.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/11/12/medicaid-is-health-overhauls-early-succe

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