Count me among those who didn’t know realize there was a debate about this, but apparently people have been arguing about whether Medicaid does any good for people. As described in a recent New York Times article, the state of Oregon held a lottery where they randomly assigned Medicaid coverage to 10,000 out of the 90,000 who applied. See also this post at the Monkey Cage.
I like this description of the design from the New York Times:
By assigning coverage randomly, Oregon gave researchers more confidence that they had teased out the true effects of insurance, and had not been fooled by other differences between the insured and the uninsured.
The Times apparently decided the study was not good enough to stand on its own, and decided to interview “17 insured and uninsured participants.” At least we know the treatment was random there, though!
“U.S. Plans Stealth Survey on Access to Doctors,” reports the New York Times on June 26, 2011. That’s odd, I think–haven’t they read this other study?
Anyway, apparently they were interested in seeing if people on government funded health plans are less likely to get appointment than those with private insurance. What I thought was really odd was how much details they spilled to the press about the protocol. There didn’t seem to be any way that doctors offices couldn’t prepare themselves for these “mystery shoppers.”
But then today: “Primary care access survey canceled,” reports the Times (via the Boston Globe).
Any sign that the study was canceled because of the reservations I mention above? Sadly no. The Times reports:
Administration officials concluded that the survey could be more of a political liability than it was worth. Doctors and many Republican lawmakers criticized the project