The rest of the story
EDITOR: As a physician, Charles Krauthammer knows how to read study abstracts. I can only assume that he intentionally left out other findings of the “Oregon Experiment” reported in the New England Journal of Medicine (“Examining the health care myths we live by,” Saturday):
“Although changes in health status are of great interest, they are not the only important potential benefit of expanded health insurance coverage. . . . In our study, Medicaid coverage almost completely eliminated catastrophic out-of-pocket medical expenditures.”
“We found that insurance led to increased access to and utilization of health care, substantial improvements in mental health, and reductions in financial strain, but we did not observe reductions in measured blood-pressure, cholesterol, or glycated hemoglobin levels.”
While one can surmise that increased access may over time lead to reductions in measured blood-pressure and the other physical health indices, the immediate benefit of improvements in mental health, reductions in financial strain and the elimination of catastrophic out-of-pocket medical expenditures is no mean achievement.
Shame on Krauthammer for only telling part of the story.