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‘NOW’ Panel Attempts to Spin Damning Study on Medicaid Expansion

Study: Obamacare Medicaid expansion generated no significant improvements in measured physical health outcomes in first two years

• May 2, 2013 1:47 pm

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MSNBC's Alex Wagner and the "NOW" panel sought to quickly dismiss the findings of a damning New England Journal of Medicine study on the health outcomes of Obamacare's expansion of Medicaid Thursday afternoon.

Wagner suggested conservative outrage in reaction to the study is predicated on the fact that Medicaid expansion failed to in two years cure Medicaid patients of diabetes and hyptertension:

ALEX WAGNER: […] But there's going, there is already a lot of huge outcry from the right about "this proves that Obamacare is a national disaster because in two years, a certain segment of the population was not cured of diabetes and cancer." Not cancer I believe, hypertension. Part of me as someone who thinks we should have national health care coverage, for the poor and sick, should not go into economic crisis by virtue of getting sick is frustrated at the study. Insofar as that it only studied a population over two years, as much such, the findings in some ways are inconclusive and the good stuff is getting buried under a lot of sort of semi negative stuff.

In fact, failing to cure diabetes and hypertension is not the principle evidence in the study that the expansion of Medicaid has been a complete failure.

The three physical variables used to measure the health of participants in the study (blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and diabetic blood pressure) showed no measurable improvements between the control group and the group with Medicaid coverage:

We found no significant effect of Medicaid coverage on the prevalence or diagnosis of hypertension or high cholesterol levels or on the use of medication for these conditions. Medicaid coverage significantly increased the probability of a diagnosis of diabetes and the use of diabetes medication, but we observed no significant effect on average glycated hemoglobin levels or on the percentage of participants with levels of 6.5% or higher. […]

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This randomized, controlled study showed that Medicaid coverage generated no significant improvements in measured physical health outcomes in the first 2 years, but it did increase use of health care services […]

In other words, the study suggests the Obamacare Medicaid expansion has not only failed to cure patients of diabetes and hypertension, it has failed to make Medicaid patients marginally healthier at all, physically speaking.

The study's findings add to existing concerns that the law may be heading for a train wreck.