What's more, they said, the short follow-up period and small number of people with chronic conditions in the study sample may have skewed the results.
It is also possible, Meltzer said, that small improvements did occur but didn't show up as statistically significant. "A [slight] decline in blood pressure could be really important, and we can't say that didn't happen," he said.
Lessons learned from the Oregon experience could be instructive as half of the states in the nation proceed with plans to broaden Medicaid enrollment in 2014, while others remain opposed or undecided.
Results of this study and findings from earlier research on the Oregon experiment should dispel any notion that expanding Medicaid will save money, Baicker said, because "the program costs money; people consume more health care." On the other hand, the results demonstrate clear benefits to the people who are enrolled.
"Policymakers have to weigh how much they value those benefits to enrollees against alternative uses of the resources that go into the program," she said.
Go to Medicaid.gov to learn more about your state's Medicaid program.
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