The real patients of Medicaid video series
Lynn Voss and her sister, Judy, have been keeping vigil over their sister after she was rushed to the hospital for an untreated dental infection that they said spread to her brain.
The sisters describe how difficult it was for their sister to navigate the Medicaid maze. At first she tried self-treatment. When her sisters managed to get her to a doctor, the practice could not accept her Medicaid coverage. She discontinued treatment until she collapsed.
In 2009, to save money, Michigan Medicaid ended routine dental visits for adults. It also has switched to a number of managed care services that have limited access to doctors.
Gov. Rick Snyder, some Republicans and state Democrats want to expand Medicaid in Michigan, which is a key component to implementing Obamacare.
Opponents of Medicaid expansion in Michigan point to studies that show the program has little effect on health outcomes. Physicians in the state and around the nation point to other policy options like state health plans providing catastrophic care and Health Savings Accounts.
A study on the program in Oregon published by the New England Journal of Medicine found "no significant effect" of Medicaid coverage in important health areas.
Meanwhile, other states, like Indiana, offer plans that inject more competition into the system, saving money while offering better coverage. Health policy experts also point to Direct Primary Care models, which establish lower overhead for medical providers.