What is the Study?

The Oregon Health Study uses surveys, semi-structured interviews, health assessments, claims data and in-depth interviews to find out what happens when you insure the uninsured.

Why is it important?

The Oregon Health Plan Lottery created a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to design a randomized controlled trial that measures the impact of health insurance.

Many people have debated whether giving an uninsured person health insurance would lead to better health outcomes.  The best way to measure the health impacts of health insurance is to take a large group of people and randomly select some to receive health insurance while others are chosen not to receive the insurance.

But there’s a problem with that design:  in research, it’s not ethical to assign someone to a group that can’t have health insurance.

The Oregon Health Plan Lottery solved this problem.  Because the lottery randomly selected who could apply for OHP, the only difference between the treatment and control group is that one group was chosen to be eligible to apply for OHP.  Therefore, any differences in outcomes for the two groups can be attributed to health insurance.

This rare opportunity gives us the chance to find out what really happens when you insure the uninsured.