The end of Medicaid work requirements?

Last week, a federal judge blocked Arkansas and Kentucky from requiring individuals to work in order to receive Medicaid benefits. Prior to that decision, 9 states had been approved to implement Medicaid work requirements. At first glance, a work requirement does not make a lot of sense. If you are very sick and on Medicaid,…

Medicaid expansion and prescription drug use

How did Medicaid expansion affect prescription drug use? At first glance, one would think that prescriptions increased; more insurance lowers patient out-of-pocket cost so we would expect more prescriptions. Medicaid insurance may crowd out other forms of insurance; if those other forms of insurance covered more drugs, then perhaps utilization would go down. A study…

Is the hospital readmissions reduction program bad for patients?

The answer is ‘perhaps’ according to a new paper by Wadhera et al. (2018). They use data from 2005 to 2015, and apply an inverse probability–weighted 30-day and 45-day post-discharge mortality measure stratified by whether there was an associated readmission. They examine admissions for acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, and pneumonia. Among Medicare beneficiaries, the HRRP…

Medicare, adverse selection and cancer

Conventional wisdom holds that Medicare Advantage provides better service and lower cost sharing than traditional Medicare fee-for-service, and thus is attractive for many people.  However, Medicare Advantage may restrict access to providers and may be less attractive to patients with more severe illnesses.  Healthcare economists, however, do not rely on rumors and stories to make…

Positive externalities of Medicaid expansion

From Sen and DeLeire (2018): …premiums of Marketplace plans are 11% lower in Medicaid expansion states, controlling for demographic and health characteristics as well as measures of health care access. These results are consistent with evidence on the composition of the private insurance risk pool in expansion versus nonexpansion states and associated differences in expected…