Acton Institute Powerblog

What the Oregon Medicaid Study Tells Us About Big Government

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MedicaidMoney_jpg_800x1000_q100If a large Oregon study is any indication, says Jonathan Witt in this week’s Acton Commentary, the Affordable Care Act may drive up frivolous emergency room visits and do little to improve people’s physical or economic health:

In essence, the healthcare industry becomes the enabler in a lucrative game in which patients put off needed lifestyle reform, opting instead for prescription pills, surgeries and conversations about “genetic predispositions.” None of this gets at the root problem, and indeed exacerbates the root problem. People face a moral challenge, to accept responsibility as stewards of their bodies to live a healthy lifestyle. The system, instead of spurring them on to do the responsible thing, all too often invites them to believe they are not responsible and should entrust their genetically hopeless selves into the hands of the medical/pharmaceutical industrial complex.

The full text of his essay can be found here. Subscribe to the free, weekly Acton News & Commentary and other publications here.

Joe Carter Joe Carter is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. Joe also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible and co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator (Crossway).


  • Law5guy

    I’m a bit hazy on the whole “the healthcare industry wants you to be sick” argument. Not a doctor or otherwise connected to the healthcare business, but this seems to be a post hoc, propter hoc argument. Certainly, the healthcare industry has no role in causing you to need trauma medicine (car wreck, concussion playing high school football, etc.) I would also submit that they are not the cause of people failing to get check ups, drinking lots of sugary carbonated drinks, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, using “recreational” drugs or even of people ignoring discomfort/pain when fixing the problem is easier. Nor is the healthcare industry responsible for the inevitable effects of aging.
    I might argue that health is not the #1 priority of a whole lot of people, but Obamacare is premised on the assumption that everyone wants/needs as high a level of health as is possible. It is still my choice whether to go to the doctor or do something else that I would enjoy more, even if you or that man in the White House thinks I should get healthier. I assume that it will not be very long before the administration begins outlawing “risky” behavior on the grounds that they’re paying for healthcare and I’m too expensive if I do certain things that I like to do.