Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Medicaid’s Effect on Mortality

Written By: Jason Shafrin - Jul• 31•12

Does Medicaid coverage decrease mortality?  According to a recent study in NEJM, the answer is yes.

Mortality declined significantly (by 19.6 deaths per 100,000, for a relative reduction of 6.1%; P=0.001). Reductions were greatest among nonwhites and older adults, with smaller but significant reductions among whites and no effect among persons under the age of 35 years. Counties with higher poverty rates had larger mortality reductions. Single-state analyses showed significant effects only in the largest state, New York. For each of the three states, the 95% confidence interval included the estimate for the overall sample (although Maine’s imprecise estimate differed significantly from that of New York).

So is the debate over?  Is Medicaid unequivocally good policy?

Despite the finding, Michael Cannon is not convinced that Medicaid is a worthwhile program.  Even if Medicaid saves lives, Cannon believes that there are more cost-effective ways to achieve this goal.


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