Friday, July 8, 2011

Medicaid improves health and budgets of poor

Medicaid improves health and budgets of poor
Jul 7, 2011

Medicaid, a government health insurance program designed to help the poorest of the poor, is giving people unprecedented access to doctors and also improvi their finances, a study co-authored by the Harvard School of Public Health has found.

The study, released on Thursday, showed that new recipients of Medicaid reported better physical and mental health and were less likely to go into debt to pay their medical bills.

The fate of Medicaid -- the health program for people and families with low incomes and resources -- has been hotly debated for its role in the ballooning U.S. deficit. The Obama administration's healthcare overhaul passed last year requires all U.S. states to extend eligibility to millions more people by 2014.

The study followed health outcomes a year after a 2008 Medicaid expansion in Oregon, where 10,000 uninsured low-income adults won coverage through a lottery.

The results show that Medicaid helps poorer Americans well beyond the default safety net options that exist for people without coverage, according to the researchers from Harvard, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the National Bureau of Economic Research and Providence Health & Services...

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