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Oregon Medicaid Expansion Proves Costly

by Benjamin Domenech on January 2, 2012

Kenneth Artz reports on the latest news from Oregon, focused on the governor’s Medicaid expansion attempts:

Expanding Medicaid coverage to low-income individuals results in better reported health and greater financial well-being, but also higher costs and greater utilization of care, according to a new study by researchers from the National Bureau of Economic Research and the Oregon Health Study Group.

In early 2008 Oregon added 10,000 spots to its state Medicaid program providing health insurance for low-income adults who lack private insurance and do not qualify for Medicaid or Medicare. Program officials decided a lottery would be used to determine who would fill the new spots. Some 90,000 people signed up to participate out of roughly 600,000 Oregonians who do not have health insurance. The Oregon lottery became the first random assignment of health insurance ever done in the United States.

Proponents of President Obama’s health care law have used this study to push for universal health care coverage. But opponents say it merely illustrates that if you give people something for free, they will use more of it.

Read the rest at The Heartlander.

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