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Josh Barro

What to Make of the Oregon Health Study

The Oregon Health Study is another piece of evidence showing that we need some health care for all, but not too much.

Yesterday, we got results from the two-year Oregon Health Study, which randomly assigned some low-income people to receive Medicaid coverage while others did not. The study found that Medicaid led people to consume more health care and was effective in reducing both financial strains due to medical costs and depression. But it did not find significant effects on the physical health measures that were tracked.

Despite efforts to spin it to the contrary, this is bad news for advocates of the Medicaid expansion. While Medicaid is clearly good for some things, it was supposed to be good for all of the measures tracked.