Colorado Medicaid Expansion: Remember that health coverage is not health care

On December 30, Michael Booth of the Denver Post writes:

Free money now, untold costs later.

That’s the dilemma facing Gov. John Hickenlooper, state officials and legislators in 2013 as they contemplate one of the biggest questions in Colorado’s health future: Should we jump into the historic expansion of Medicaid that is a key element of health-care reform?

Read more: Will Colorado go all-out to broaden Medicaid pool?

Health economist John C. Goodman summarizes the poor medical outcomes on people enrolled in Medicaid, compared to those with commercial insurance or the uninsured. He notes:

[Austin] Frakt points to some studies finding that Medicaid makes a positive difference over being uninsured.[15] But the results would probably have been just as good or better if we spent the money giving free care to vulnerable populations. Moreover, even with their Medicaid cards, enrollees turn to emergency rooms for their care twice as often as the privately insured and the uninsured.[16]

Read Goodman’s whole post: How Bad Is Care under Medicaid?

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