New research on Medicaid in Oregon gave fresh ammunition to both sides of the fight over the Obama administration's push to persuade states to extend Medicaid coverage to more residents.
The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that Oregon residents who gained Medicaid coverage during a 2008 lottery visited doctors' offices more often and had more prescriptions compared with those who didn't get covered. The lottery provided an unusual randomized trial to study the degree to which Medicaid helps lower-income Americans.
The research found no greater detection of hypertension and high cholesterol among the group that gained coverage. Medication used to treat both conditions was also similar between lottery winners and losers. And one key diabetes measure—average glycated hemoglobin levels—looked similar between the two groups, though diagnosis and prescriptions to treat diabetes increased with the safety-net insurance.