The Impact of Extending Medicaid Coverage


The Impact of Extending Medicaid Coverage

The expansion of health insurance to the uninsured has been one of the most salient policy debates of the last decade. But, without rigorous analysis of the data, it is impossible to determine which of two equally compelling anecdotes or ideological arguments captures the more representative experience. For example:

Nicole Dardeau, as quoted in The New York Times:My Medicaid card is useless right now. It’s a useless piece of plastic... I can’t find an orthopedic surgeon or a pain management doctor who will accept Medicaid.”

Bettina Cox, as quoted by CNN: “[The treatment that the Medicaid program covered] saved my life, it actually saved my life.”

Each of these statements reflects an individual's actual experience. But that still leaves us wondering: On average, is Medicaid worthless or life-saving?