There’s disturbing news from a recent study of Medicaid recipients and cancer based on data from Ohio, which found several disturbing datapoints. Sarah Kliff summarizes:
“Medicaid patients had worse survival rates than the rest of the study sample, which included both those with private insurance and with no coverage at all. The disparities persisted even after the researchers controlled for where patients live, how much education they had received and the income level of their neighborhoods… What this study doesn’t delve into is why Medicaid enrollees have worse outcomes than the general population, whether it has to do with access to certain physicians, with wait times to see a specialist, or some issue completely removed from the doctor’s office.”
It’s impossible to measure exactly how much of the problems with Medicaid are due to its false promise of access to care, which delays diagnosis and treatment; but I categorically reject the assumption, implicit in much of the research, that Medicaid’s population is simply to blame for its own inability to navigate the system or seek care in a timely fashion. Reforming Medicaid starts with returning to a true safety net model, while giving people more control within a system with more transparent choices and reliable access to care.