Issue Brief

Exploring Claims That Medicaid Doesn’t Improve Health

July 17, 2014 | Mark Gibson

In debates over Medicaid expansion, several recent studies are often cited as evidence regarding Medicaid’s effectiveness and inability to improve population health. The Milbank Memorial Fund (MMF) was asked to assess these studies for policymakers, at the request of the MMF’s Reforming States Group (RSG), a bipartisan, voluntary group of health policy leaders from both the executive and legislative branches who convene regularly to share information and experiences, develop professional networks, and work on practical solutions to pressing problems in health care.

The three studies are a review of insurance claims data on surgical cases, a randomized study of clinical outcomes in Medicaid recipients in Oregon, and an analysis of emergency department use in Medicaid recipients in Oregon.

Consistent with the RSG’s working principle of using the best available evidence and experience to improve population health, the MMF examined the nature and quality of the evidence presented in the studies, as well as the resulting conclusions. Released today by the MMF, the new Issue Brief, “Exploring Claims That Medicaid Doesn’t Improve Health,” explains the policy claims associated with each study, analyzes each study’s methodology and findings, and summarizes the policy relevance of and key points for each study.