Oregon Health Study Findings
A 2013 article in the New England Journal of Medicine evaluates the effect of Medicaid on the care that patients receive and on patient health. These results are important because they interpret objective clinical health data, rather than data that was provided by the participant in a survey.
The data used for these results was collected two years after the lottery.
Medicaid significantly increased the probability of being diagnosed with diabetes after the lottery, and the probability of using diabetes medication.
Medicaid had no statistically significant effect on measured blood pressure or cholesterol.
Medicaid reduced observed rates of depression by 30 percent.
Medicaid increased the probability of being diagnosed with depression after the lottery.
Medicaid increased self-reported health.
Medicaid virtually eliminated out-of-pocket catastrophic medical expenditures.
Medicaid reduced other measures of financial strain, such as reducing the probability of having to borrow money or skip paying other bills because of medical expenses by more than 50 percent.
Utilization and Access
Medicaid increased use of physician services, prescription drugs, and hospitalizations. This increased use represents about $1200 in medical costs annually, or an increase of about 35 percent.
Medicaid increased the probability of having a usual place of care by 50 percent.
Medicaid increased the use of preventive services and screening, such as increasing the probability of having a cholesterol check by more than 50 percent and doubling the probability that women over 50 had a mammogram.
A 2012 article in the Quarterly Journal of Economics summarizes results of the Oregon Health Study after one year. The paper reports results from the longitudinal mail survey only.
Those who received OHP reported that they were healthier; 25 percent said that they were in “excellent” health.
OHP beneficiaries were 20 percent more likely to get cholesterol monitoring, 35 percent more likely to use outpatient care, and 60 percent more likely to get mammograms.
Access to Care
OHP beneficiaries were 55 percent more likely to report having a doctor they see regularly and 70 percent more likely to report they had an office or clinic for care.
OHP beneficiaries were 40 percent less likely to borrow money or avoid paying other bills because of high medical expenses. They were 25 percent less likely to have unpaid medical bills Not coincidentally, people on Medicaid were.