First off, Howard Kurtz has been fired from the Daily Beast. I didn’t know it was possible to be so bad as to be fired from the Daily Beast. How low can you go? Maybe Weekly World News has an opening.
Elsewhere — The Right has seized on a new study that they claim proves that Medicaid doesn’t help anyone and is a big waste of money. As usual, the Right can’t read. Jonathan Cohn and bloggers at the Incidental Economist explain what the study actually says. The Incidental Economist explains,
Letâ€™s review. The good: Medicaid improved rates of diagnosis of depression, increased the use of preventive services, and improved the financial outlook for enrollees. The bad: It did not significantly affect the A1C levels of people with diabetes or levels of hypertension or cholesterol.
This has led many to declare (and weâ€™re not linking to them) that the ACA is now a failed promise, that Medicaid is bad, and that anyone who disagrees is a â€œMedicaid denierâ€. How many people saying that are ready to give up insurance for themselves or their family? If they are arguing that Medicaid needs to be reformed in some way, weâ€™re open to that. If theyâ€™re arguing that insurance coverage shouldnâ€™t be accessible to poor Americans in any form, we donâ€™t agree. Medicaid may not be perfect, but we donâ€™t think being uninsured is better. This new study supports this view, though certainly not as strongly as it might have.
Cohn makes the point that the purpose of health insurance is not to keep you well, but to pay the medical bills.
That may sound obviousâ€”of course people with insurance are less likely to struggle with medical bills. But itâ€™s also the most under-appreciated accomplishment of health insurance: Whatever its effects on health, it promotes economic security. â€œThe primary purpose of health insurance is to protect you financially in event of a catastrophic medical shock,â€ Finkelstein told me in an interview, â€œin the same way that the primary purpose of auto insurance or fire insurance is to provide you money in case youâ€™ve lost something of value.â€
And, anyway, the study has been following subjects for only two years. The difference in health care outcomes after five or ten years might be more significant, assuming the study continues.