Leading Obamacare proponents: health law doesn’t improve quality of health care, but so what?
Some time ago I wrote on this blog that proponents of greater government intrusion in health care are not motivated by improving the quality of health care Americans enjoy. A recent comment from two leading proponents of Obamacare serves as an example of this.
Here’s the background for their comment: One major provision of Obamacare is the expansion of Medicaid, the government’s health care program for low-income individuals, to cover 21 million Americans who were previously ineligible. But a major study, known as the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment, recently suggested that being on Medicaid does not make people any physically healthier than if they are uninsured. Being on Medicaid, according to the study’s authors, “generated no significant improvement in measured physical health outcomes,” such as cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
[Let’s leave aside the validity of the study’s results and assumptions. Your cholesterol and blood pressure levels are obviously affected by many factors other than your means of paying for health care, such as lifestyle choice, family history, etc., so the causal link between coverage and health is dubious.]
In response to commentators who argued that the results of this study suggested Medicaid expansion is a bad idea, Aaron Carroll and Austin Frakt, leading liberal health policy analysts, had this to say: “We have never claimed that quality would go up just because of the ACA [Obamacare]. Access will improve.”
Note that Carroll and Frakt aren’t limiting their evaluation to the Medicaid provision of Obamacare but are speaking of the entire law. That’s 20,000 pages (and counting) of regulations they see as having nothing to do with improving the quality of health care in America today.