Misleading on Medicaid

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

If one can define the terms of the debate, one probably will win. This observation came to mind when I read M. Royce Van Tassell's "Medicaid access doesn't improve health" (Opinion, May 12), ironically, on Mother's Day.

He claimed that a study comparing Medicaid-covered individuals versus uninsured individuals showed no difference in overall health. He asserted that Medicaid-covered people are leaching off the poor taxpayer.

Van Tassell failed to mention the cost of expensive emergency room care, which is where uninsured individuals seek most of their health care. Instead of seeking regular preventive care, the unfortunate uninsured usually wait until their health care needs become acute.

Under the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, health care professionals would be rewarded for improved health outcomes, not treatments made. To achieve these results, professionals would be encouraged to help patients be better educated about caring for their own health, practicing practical preventive measures and routinely seeking professional medical advice.

Van Tassell's approach of waiting until the patient falls off the cliff has a nice libertarian ring "of free choice," but the victim at the bottom of the cliff costs us all through our subsidization of emergency room health care.

Pat Shea

Salt Lake City