The Agenda

NRO’s domestic-policy blog, by Reihan Salam.

The New England Journal of Medicine on Medicaid’s Poor Physician Access


This week’s issue of the New England Journal of Medicine contains a study which found that two-thirds of callers posing as mothers of children on Medicaid and/or S-CHIP were denied an appointment with a specialist for an urgent medical problem. Only 11% of those posing as having private insurance were denied an appointment.

I discuss the study in depth over at my Forbes blog, along with a related one published in the journal Pediatrics. For other intelligent takes on the study: Megan McArdle points out that Illinois, the location of the surveys, was undergoing an “ugly budget crisis” at the time. Harold Pollack agrees that the study’s findings are troubling, but continues to believe that the solution is to spend more money, instead of giving states more leeway through block grants or other mechanisms to experiment with different eligibility criteria or more efficient financing mechanisms.


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