John Goodman of NCPA has highlighted a new study by Chapin White in Health Services Research which finds that the coverage expansion in CHIP seem not to have increased physician utilization. In Goodman’s view, this bodes ill for PPACA:
When Congress expanded the CHIP program about three years ago, the Congressional Budget Office predicted that about one-quarter to one-half the 4 million newly enrolled children would lose private coverage (that presumably paid higher physician fees than CHIP). This study implies that the net result of the expansion is that up to 2 million children now have less access to care than they previously had.
ObamaCare will repeat the mistake when it enrolls about 16 million new people in Medicaid. Many will be converting from private coverage that pays physicians more than Medicaid pays (even with the somewhat higher rates for two years). The net result: millions of patients will have less access to care than they had before the reform.
Jason Shafrin has more on the study. The question I’d want to see answered is not about physician utilization, but rather about whether the health and well-being of the population in question showed any signs of material improvement. Perhaps an increase in physician utilization has no impact on health status, but even theoretical protection against health shocks has some value.