Writing for Forbes.com, Chris Conover thoroughly debunks the studies Maine Democrats have used to call Gov. Paul LePage and GOP lawmakers murders for not agreeing to expand Medicaid. Conover points up myriad problems with the Harvard/CUNY and American Journal of Public Health studies and how both have been taken out of context for use by Democratic political groups, including the Maine People’s Alliance:
What the Harvard/CUNY researchers failed to report is that the Sommers study showed that the only statistically significant mortality decrease occurred in New York (by 22.2/100,000). In contrast, an apparent increase in mortality in Maine (by 13.4/100,000) and an apparent mortality decline in AZ (by 10.2/100,000) were not statistically significant….
Even if one believed NY’s Medicaid program actually reduced mortality, one cannot cherry-pick the Sommers’ results. If people are willing to overlook the study’s clear methodological limitations to claim it “proves” Medicaid saved lives in NY, then they have to be prepared to concede that Maine and Arizona’s Medicaid programs evidently had no impact on mortality….
In light of the foregoing, I can state with great confidence that the authors have grossly overestimated any mortality gains to be had from Medicaid expansion. The evidence that Medicaid even has a positive effect on adult mortality risk is far more thin than the Harvard/CUNY team has led you to believe. The quasi-experimental results from Sommers are, from a scientific point of view, stronger than the observational results from AJPH. But even as they relate to the single state where a statistically significant reduction in mortality was associated with Medicaid expansion, we cannot be certain that this result was genuine. And it’s certainly inappropriate to extrapolate that rosy result to states that are likely to have outcomes more similar to the two states where Medicaid produced no statistically significant improvement in mortality.
Read the comprehensive analysis here.