You are here

The Oregon Experiment - Effects of Medicaid on Clinical Outcomes

May 2013

Katherine Baicker, Sarah L. Taubman, Heidi L. Allen, Mira Bernstein, Jonathan H. Gruber, Joseph P. Newhouse, Eric C. Schneider, Bill J. Wright, Alan M. Zaslavsky, Amy N. Finkelstein


In 2008 Oregon expanded its Medicaid through a lottery, drawing 30,000 names out of 90,000 applicants. This was used as a randomized experiment to analyze the effects of Medicaid. The results indicate that gaining Medicaid has no significant effect on blood pressure, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, and glycated hemoglobin levels. Medicaid coverage was found to increase probability of receiving a diabetes diagnosis, and decreased the instance of depression. Additionally, Medicaid led to an increase in self-reported health status and a decrease in financial hardship due to medical costs. In terms of utilization, Medicaid coverage increased the number of prescription medications and office visits per patient, while simultaneously having no effect on emergency room visits or hospital admittance.

Read Now

Policy Implications

These findings suggest that several goals of the Affordable Care Act should be met through Medicaid expansion. The results indicate Medicaid coverage will increase self-reported health status, while deceasing financial hardship. In terms of clinically measured health outcomes, however, more evidence is needed to show a clear relationship, if one exists.

Find Similar Health Research