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May 02, 2013

Large-Scale Study Finds That Extending Medicaid Benefits to the Poor Does Not Improve Their Health Whatsoever, and the Entire Media Suppresses This Finding

Gabe wrote about the New York Times' incredible non-headline headline on this, choosing to ignore the important, interesting finding and instead promote a non-finding:

Medicaid Access Increases Use of Care, Study Finds

...as if that's a good thing-- is it a good thing that people now go to the doctors more, with middle-class taxpayers picking up the tab, especially if such increased use of medical resources at someone else's expense does not actually increase their health at all?

Allah's done a larger post on this matter, noting the AP's headline:

Medicaid improved mental health for uninsured

...which itself is doubly misleading. First, it ignores the big takeaway -- it did nothing to increase their physical health -- and as far as mental health, giving them Medicaid money only decreased their stress and depression about paying bills:

"It did generate robust improvements in mental health and enormous reductions in financial strain and hardship."

AP went on to score this as a Big Fat Win for ObamaCare and the Welfare State:

WASHINGTON (AP) — If you're uninsured, getting on Medicaid clearly improves your mental health, but it doesn't seem to make much difference in physical conditions such as high blood pressure.

...

"The study did not generate any evidence that Medicaid coverage translated to measurable improvements in physical health outcomes over a two-year window," said lead researcher Katherine Baicker of the Harvard School of Public Health. "It did generate robust improvements in mental health and enormous reductions in financial strain and hardship."

That leaves policymakers with "a much more nuanced and complex picture" of the potential benefits of expanding Medicaid, said Baicker, an economist.

It also debunks a widespread perception that having Medicaid is no better, and maybe even worse, than being uninsured.

But as far as physical health -- something that's more objective -- that's precisely what the study proves. It doesn't "debunk" it-- it disproves it.

What an Orwellian use of "debunk."

Lots of links in Allah's piece, but on the Media Bias tip, looks like the media, which insists it is not monolithic in its liberal bias, is all singing from the same hymnal on this, all following the same pattern of spin.

The Washington Post is slightly less egregious:

Study: Medicaid reduces financial hardship, doesn’t quickly improve physical health

Note how she puts that. In a two year period, this expansion did not improve health at all. Her headline? It didn't improve health quickly. That is, it helped health, but apparently outside the two year window.

Note that this headline can be re-used at every two year window in the future -- when Medicaid continues doing nothing at all but shift costs, she can continue saying it hasn't improved health yet, but further studies will surely prove it does.


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posted by Ace at 11:57 AM

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