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For $460 Billion a Year, Medicaid Darn Well Better Save Lives

txfighter Wrote: Jul 29, 2012 10:18 AM
A Home Health patient (on Medicaid) I had had total hip replacement on one side. Surgery one day, discharged next day to home. I was allowed 3 visits to teach the wife how to do dressing changes and how to look for signs of infection. The 3rd visit had to be a week from discharge to observe for signs of infection and state of healing. Thank God the patient did well. Another patient with cancer, 42 years old, was not given Chemo therapy because he was on Medicaid. He died a year later. People do not realize how limited care is provided by Medicaid. The most money going out for Medicaid payments goes to very expensive emergency room care, a $2000. visit versus a $45. office visit because so many Drs. do not accept Medicaid .

A study in this week’s New England Journal of Medicine finds that when three states expanded their Medicaid programs, mortality rates fell 6 percent relative to four neighboring states. The study found evidence that the mortality gains were concentrated in poorer counties — i.e., where people were most likely to become eligible for Medicaid.

As always, the study comes with caveats. The results “may not be generalizable to other states,” may have been driven by unobservable confounding factors, et cetera. Speaking only for myself, I hope these results are accurate. I hope Medicaid does save lives. That program spends nearly half a...

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