That’s right; the giant government-run program that provides health care coverage to millions of impoverished and disabled Americans does so in a manner that is comparable to that of private insurance. The Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) recently finished an in-depth study about the kind of coverage that Medicaid provides, and the results were kind of surprising. Even though it found that there was a significant disparity in dental care, Medicaid beneficiaries tend to have nearly as good of access to medical care as people with private insurance, despite the fact that Medicaid generally provides doctors with lower payments.
This isn’t to say that being on Medicaid is the same as having private coverage, because it’s not. Children whose coverage was provided by Medicaid seemed to enjoy the same access to doctors as kids covered by private insurance plans, but not so for adults. Among working-age adults covered by Medicaid, around 7.8% of them had difficulty obtaining care, whereas only 3.3% of working-age adults covered by private insurance experienced such difficulty.
The study by the GAO did not look into the quality of the health care that was being received by the two groups, but it did look into why persons covered by Medicaid seem to have difficulty in seeking out treatment. What it found was that people covered by Medicaid encountered greater difficulty in obtaining transportation to their appointment than did those people covered by private insurance or who had no insurance at all.