Tim Phillips

In states across the country, governors and state legislators are being pushed by the Obama Administration and special interest groups to expand Medicaid. Ironically, a federal government running massive deficits is enticing these governors and state legislators with the promise of 'free money.' States have a choice to make: trust the promises coming out of Washington, D.C. and commit themselves to spending billions of their state budgets on a one-size-fits-all Medicaid bureaucracy in exchange for some funding from D.C. or reject the federal money, protect their taxpayers but risk the potential political fallout of appearing to not care about many Americans in need.

But, there is another consideration for these state policymakers. Is funneling millions of additional American citizens into Medicaid a good thing for those citizens’ health? Detailed studies by respected academic and medical organizations including the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and the University of Virginia have demonstrated that those in the Medicaid program die at a higher rate from heart problems, surgical outcomes and cancer than Americans receiving private insurance, Medicare or even the uninsured. That's right. Medicaid recipients have worse health care outcomes, according to the studies, than Americans who have no insurance at all.

According to a recent study by an economist at the National Center for Health Statistics, people on Medicaid currently can expect one in three doctors to turn them away as new patients because of their insurance, which pays about half of private plans for the same services. This is a problem across the country that’s getting worse, as forty-seven of the 50 states have cut doctor payments in the last two years.

Because these individuals struggle to find doctors willing to accept their insurance plan, these people receive substandard care. The University of Virginia study found that those who finally are accepted by doctors tend to have far lower “health outcomes” (an academically-correct way of saying more people die) than patients on private insurance, and even worse outcomes than elderly Americans receiving Medicare.

A different study from the Journal Cancer, found Medicaid cancer patients are two to three times more likely to pass away than other patients. Other studies found that Medicaid patients who have coronary artery bypass surgery are 50% more likely to die than those with private insurance or seniors on Medicare. Surgical patients on Medicaid are 13% more likely to die than even uninsured patients and 97% more likely to die than privately-insured patients.