Some who advocate Medicaid expansion claim that failing to expand Medicaid will result in thousands of people dying. When translated to Idaho specifically, those estimates typically range from 200-600 people dying every year. While this might be a compelling narrative if it were true, the truth is far less persuasive.
The study on which most of these claims are based was methodologically flawed from the beginning. It included data from just three states, two of which showed a decrease in mortality when Medicaid was expanded and one of which showed an increase in mortality when Medicaid was expanded—hardly conclusive. The study also ignored the far more relevant Oregon experiment, which showed no statistical improvement in health outcomes associated with Medicaid expansion.
Perhaps the most damning evidence against these outrageous claims, though, is the simple fact that naming an actual person who has died from a lack of Medicaid expansion is virtually impossible. There was one 32-year-old woman in Florida with an atypical heart condition whose untimely death made her the poster child for expansion advocates, but this anomaly aside, there are essentially no real-world examples to support these claims.
According to the numbers being touted as fact by supporters of Medicaid expansion, Idaho should be filling up a small cemetery every year with the bodies of those who perished from a deficiency of Medicaid services. So, where are they?
Reality is quite often the best defense against outrageous claims, and this case is certainly no exception. The best way to improve lives isn't by growing government; it's by restoring individual liberty.
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