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November 5, 2013

Setting the Medical Record Straight

Opponents of providing health insurance to more Virginians through Medicaid are mischaracterizing the findings from University of Virginia studies comparing the health outcomes of people with different types of insurance, according to Dr. Irving Kron, Chair of the UVA Department of Surgery. And he should know: He’s one of the doctors who wrote the studies.

Kron recently told the Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission (MIRC) that Medicaid patients often fare better than the uninsured despite being sicker and poorer in many cases. And he made it clear that the studies he and his colleagues at UVA published do not show that Medicaid harms patients’ health. In fact, his research shows, “Despite higher risk profiles, Medicaid patients may do better than uninsured in many surgical populations.” For example, he said, Medicaid patients fared better than their uninsured counterparts when undergoing heart surgery.

These findings directly contradict opponents of Medicaid expansion in Virginia who have been falsely arguing that Medicaid harms the poor and is worse than no coverage at all by misrepresenting the UVA research.

The MIRC faces a critical decision as it considers expanding Medicaid in Virginia. Thankfully, Dr. Kron has set the record straight for them. Medicaid helps people get the care they need to get better.

–Massey Whorley, Senior Policy Analyst

The Commonwealth Institute

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