Sponsored by Forest Grove Economic Development
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

Poll Wrap-Up

News
Friday, August 15, 2014

2014 NewPoll-report-newsletterthumbIn this week's poll, we asked readers: "Who should pay for the troubled Cover Oregon website?" Here are the results.


Read more...

Private liberal arts education: superior outcomes, competitive price

Contributed Blogs
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
0826 thumb collegemoneyBY DEBRA RINGOLD | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

Why has six years become an acceptable investment in public undergraduate education that over-promises and underperforms?


Read more...

Podcast: Interview with Pete Friedes

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, August 27, 2014

082714-thumb friedesbookTom Cox interviews Pete Friedes, author of "The 2R Manager," about becoming a Best Boss.


Read more...

Oregon Business wins awards

News
Monday, June 30, 2014

ASBPEOregon Business magazine won two silver awards for excellence in writing in the National American Society of Business Publication Editors Western region competition.


Read more...

Updated: Disrupting innovation

News
Tuesday, July 08, 2014
070814 thumb disputive-innovationBY LINDA BAKER  | OB EDITOR

The New Yorker recently published a sharply worded critique of “disruptive innovation,” one of the most widely cited theories in the business world today. The article raises questions about the descriptive value of disruption and innovation  — whether the terms are mere buzzwords or actually explain today's extraordinarily complex and fast changing business environment. 

Update: We caught up with Portland's Thomas Thurston, who shared his data driven take on the disruption controversy.


Read more...

Managing family assets: The importance of planning ahead

News
Friday, August 22, 2014
Unknown-1BY CLIFF HOCKLEY |  OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

When business intersects with family, a host of  situations can arise. Without a clear vision and careful planning, hard-earned investments can become stressful burdens.


Read more...

Is this employee right?

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
081314 thumb employeefeelingsBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

When I say, “Your Employee is Always Right,” I do not mean “right about the facts,” but rather “right about how they feel” and “right about how they want to be led.”


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