Final Ultrawonky Stat Geek Analysis of the Oregon Medicaid Study

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If you really want to understand the shortcomings of the Oregon Medicaid study, you should be reading Austin Frakt and Aaron Carroll over at The Incidental Economist. Frakt has one final post today in which he goes ultrawonky and calculates just how underpowered the study was if it wanted to get statistically significant results on the diabetes markers. It’s way over my head, so I’ll just pass along the headline result: the study was underpowered by at least a factor of 23. That is, the researchers would have needed a sample size 23 times larger than they had in order to find the results they were looking for.

The full writeup is here. Bottom line: this study was just too small. The fact that it didn’t find statistically significant results doesn’t really tell us anything at all, either good or bad, about the effect of Medicaid on health outcomes.

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In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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