If you’ve noticed the trending CHIP hashtags on Twitter today, you may be wondering: What’s up with the buzz around CHIP?
Here’s what you need to know: Today, the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment published some interesting data that looks at the effects of the 2008 Medicaid expansion in the U.S. state of Oregon.
About the study:
In 2008, Oregon initiated a limited expansion of its Medicaid program for low-income adults through a lottery drawing of approximately 30,000 names from a waiting list of almost 90,000 persons. Selected adults won the opportunity to apply for Medicaid and to enroll if they met eligibility requirements. This lottery presented an opportunity to study the effects of Medicaid with the use of random assignment.
According to their updated, two year results, the authors of the Oregon study found that Medicaid “generated no significant improvement in measured physical health outcomes.”
What does this mean?
This ongoing study really helps shed some light on the costs and benefits of the expansion of public health insurance and whether or not there is value in reauthorizing Medicaid. While this study does question the $450 billion a year we spend on Medicaid, this study is just a representation of Oregon and not the entire United States.
What’s the value of Medicaid versus catastrophic private insurance?
According to the study, “Catastrophic expenditures, defined as out-of-pocket medical expenses exceeding 30% of income, were nearly eliminated” (emphasis mine). The percent of people who borrowed money to pay bills or skipped payment fell precipitously, by 58%, and the percent of people with any medical debt dropped by 23%. (source)
Medicaid/CHIP costs about $6,000 a year per enrollees, which is $500 a month – much higher than the average bronze plan sold on exchange – especially for a young person.
So, should we be forcing low-income people into CHIP and Medicaid or should we expand ACA subsidies or tax credits to all income levels?
Unfortunately, the answers and potential solutions will take time and all we can do now is wait.
Click here to follow the debate on Twitter. (link is https://twitter.com/hashtag/CHIP?src=hash)