Home The Latest Oregon provides fodder for health care debate

Oregon provides fodder for health care debate

| Print |  Email
The Latest
Thursday, May 02, 2013
BY BRANDON SAWYER | OB RESEARCH EDITOR

Second-year results of the ongoing "Oregon Health Insurance Experiment" were just published in The New England Journal of Medicine. This unique study was borne out of Oregon's decision to expand Medicaid to thousands of low-income adults selected by lottery in 2008. A team of researchers, led by MIT economist Amy Finkelstein, has tracked d this group and a control group who did not receive Medicaid and remained uninsured, observing the measurable health, financial and other effects of health insurance coverage.

So far the study – of 6,387  randomly selected adults with Medicaid and 5,842 randomly selected witout coverage – found "no significant effect of Medicaid coverage on the prevalence or diagnosis of hypertension or high cholesterol levels or on the use of medication for these conditions," nor difference in "average glycated hemoglobin levels or on the percentage of participants with levels of 6.5% or higher."

It did find among those with coverage a higher diagnosis of diabetes and use of diabetes medication,less incidence ofr depression, increased  use of preventive care, and near elimination of "catastrophic out-of-pocket medical expenditures."

Given the political debate raging before a host of "Obamacare" reforms take effect next year, the study has gained a lot of attention. Forbes contributor David Whelan thinks the findings prove once again that having health insurance and being healthy are two different things.

Is having health insurance the same as having good health? The answer is no. People die every day despite great insurance. Others live long healthy lives without any coverage at all. The Amish community located 20 miles south of where I’m sitting includes many members of the second group. Yet the important distinction is usually lost by the time you travel 1,000 miles to Washington.

The Washington Post's WonkBlog calls the Oregon experiment a "beautiful, rare unicorn," due to therandomized clinical-trial data it provides, but the blog, written by Ezra Klein and Evan Soltas, concludes:

The problem with the Oregon study... is we don’t really know what we’re learning. It’s not clear, for instance, if the results are applicable to all health insurance, to all Medicaid insurance, or just to Oregon’s Medicaid program. It also only has two years worth of data, so we can’t know whether the sharp uptick in preventive medicine and diabetes diagnoses will pay off down the road.

Oregon is likely to remain in the health care glare as it moves ahead with CoverOregon, one of the first state health insurance exchanges to flesh out, initially limited to small businesses and individuals. Insurers are currently submitting their rate requests for next year, and individual rates could rise significantly as new mandates from the Affordable Care Act kick in.

For more on health care costs and reforms in Oregon, check out this month's Data Dig: What's driving the cost of health care?

Research editor This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it digs heaps of data about privately-held and public companies, economics and industries.

 

More Articles

Shuffling the Deck

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JON BELL

Oregon tribes still bet on casinos.


Read more...

Two Sides of the Coin

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
22 twosidesBY JASON NORRIS

Historically, when the leaves fall, so do the markets. This year, earnings, Europe, energy and Ebola have in common? Beyond alliteration, they are four factors that the investors are pointing to for this year’s seasonal volatility.


Read more...

Downtime

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

Bob Dethlefs, CEO of Evanta, balances work and play.


Read more...

Election Season

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014

We didn’t intend this issue to have an election season theme. But politics has a way of seeping into the cracks and fissures.


Read more...

The 100 Best Companies survey is open

News
Friday, October 24, 2014

100-best-logo-2015 500pxw-1How does your workplace stack up against competitors? How can you improve workplace practices to help recruit and retain employees? Find out by taking our 100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon survey!


Read more...

Podcast: Testing for Emotional Intelligence with John Hersey

Contributed Blogs
Friday, September 19, 2014
ivbU3sIXBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

How can you tell if you, a peer, a subordinate or a job candidate has the emotional intelligence needed to do well?


Read more...

Books Rule

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY JON BELL

Powell's stays relevant in the digital age.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS