The Corner

The Game-Changing Oregon Medicaid Study

Earlier this month, The New England Journal of Medicine published results of the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment, which followed over 10,000 Oregonians on Medicaid, and found that Medicaid did not improve enrollees’ health, relative to being uninsured. It’s a game-changing event, because it upends the progressive narrative that states are obligated to expand Medicaid, no matter the cost, because the program will save hundreds of thousands of lives.

I’ve written three articles about the new findings. My latest piece, on the NRO home page, reviews the history of the Oregon study, and discusses the new “Medicaid deniers” on the left who are doing everything they can to dismiss the scientific research on Medicaid’s poor outcomes.

On my Forbes blog, I’ve published a detailed statistical review of the Oregon findings, for those who are gluttons for punishment. I’ve also discussed why the results, which found no difference in outcomes between Medicaid and uninsurance, are even worse than they look, because aspects of the study’s design were biased in Medicaid’s favor.

We’re going to spend somewhere around $7.4 trillion on Medicaid over the next ten years, so I encourage anyone who is concerned about government spending to wade through this stuff. For the less quantatively inclined, I offer this nice video segment from Jim Epstein of Reason, who looked into Medicaid’s numerous financial problems.


Avik Roy is the President of the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity (, a non-partisan, non-profit think tank.

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