Is the future of American health care in Oregon?: Two weeks ago, the group reported… that Medicaid coverage increased the amount of health care people used, offered almost total protection against catastrophic health expenses and reduced depression by 30 percent, but it didn’t show a statistically significant effect on blood pressure, cholesterol or blood sugar…. The sample of sick people was too small to show statistically significant improvements in those measures…. It’s a critique that Katherine Baicker, a Harvard health economist who was one of the principle authors of the study, partially accepts:
Our power to detect changes in health was limited by the relatively small numbers of patients with these conditions. Indeed, the only condition in which we detected improvements was depression, which was by far the most prevalent of the four conditions examined.
She also noted that the diabetes results were consistent with the improvements one would expect from the clinical literature but the number of people with diabetes was too small to establish significance. However, she said the sample size was large enough to rule out large improvements in blood pressure and cholesterol, at least over the first two years.