Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Wisconsin’s Unique Medicaid Non-Expansion

The Supreme Court ruled that the Affordable Care Act was legal with one exception: the federal government could not require states to increase Medicaid eligibility. Although States were not required to make Medicaid eligibility more generous, the did have an incentive to do so. The federal government will pay 90% of the cost of enrolling […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Use of Medicaid in old age

Many health care wonks know that Medicaid covers long-term care for poor elderly individuals.  However, the impact of Medicaid among the elderly may be underappreciated.  As a paper by Di Nardi, French and Jones, finds: Among respondents in the lowest quintile of lifetime income, nearly seventy percent are receiving Medicaid at age 74. Medicaid use […]

Read the rest of this entry »

The skewed Medicaid spending distribution

Many people claim Medicaid recipients are moochers, relying on the federal government.  Further, Medicaid costs states a lot of money.  Why don’t Medicaid programs just raise copays to reduce unnecessary use of medical care? The reason is that the vast majority of Medicaid beneficiaries don’t spend too much money.  Medicaid is expensive mostly due to […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Medicaid and HIX plans may overlap

Consumers in 30 states (60%) will have the option of at least one plan operating as both a qualified health plan (QHP) in the health insurance exchange (HIX) and as a Medicaid managed care organization (MMCO), according to an Avalere analysis. In these states, Medicaid beneficiaries may be able to enroll in a plan offered […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Why doctors don’t see Medicaid patients

According to a recent Health Affairs article, the primary (but not only) reason is reimbursement rates: Consistent with the results of prior research,8–11 physicians in the focus groups cited low Medicaid reimbursement rates as a serious problem that limited their willingness to care for Medicaid patients… Administrative data from 2010 show that the Medicaid-to-Medicare ratio […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Wisconsin is not Oregon

Recently in the news, a psuedo-randomized trial of Oregon’s Medicaid expansion found that people with Medicaid used more healthcare services.  They use more doctor visits, more medications and even a few more ER visits and hospitalizations (though these last two were not statistically significant).  Some policymakers believed that insurance will decrease ER visits and hosptializations […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Effect of Physician Reimbursement Rates on Medicaid Take-up

Only about 50% to 60% of individuals eligible for Medicaid actually take-up the coverage.  Why is this case?  Many people claim that individuals only take up Medicaid insurance when they get sick.  Others claim that state outreach efforts have been subpar.  Youjin Hahn, however, offers another explanation rates: Medicaid insurance is just not that valuable. The […]

Read the rest of this entry »

The Most Important Health Policy Study of Our Generation

Perhaps the most important paper on the effect of health insurance on health, spending, and access to care was released this week. Although randomized controlled trials are rare for measuring the effect of insurance, the design of the Oregon Medicaid program introduced random variation into who received Medicaid coverage.  The authors write: In 2008, Oregon […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Medi-Cal expansion contentious in California

Health reform has expanded Medicaid access to millions of Americans.  The question is, will the poor even want Medicaid insurance?  As finances are tightening, many states are attempting to reduce the generosity of their current Medicaid benefits. In California, (where Medicaid is known as Medi-Cal), Governor Jerry Brown wants to reduce Medicaid’s benefit generosity.  He […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Do Medicaid Expansions Crowd Out Private Health Insurance?

According to Hamersma and Matthew Kim (2013), the answer is no. The authors use data from the 1996, 2001, and 2004 panels of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). This data is supplemented with state-level information on Medicaid income eligibility rules. The authors classify each person as either: holding no insurance, private insurance, […]

Read the rest of this entry »