One might think that the answer to this question would be heavily in favor of the private insurance, but, according to a study recently conducted by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), that may not be the case.
According to the GAO study, persons whose healthcare coverage is provided by Medicaid tend to enjoy nearly the same access to medical care as those persons covered by private insurance plans. In fact, the GAO found that children do have equal access to doctors regardless of their insurance source, but that differences do exist between working-age adults covered by Medicaid versus working-age adults covered by private insurance plans. The difference was that 7.8% of those adults covered by Medicaid reported difficulty in obtaining care, compared to 3.3% reported by those with private insurance.
There was, however, a significant disparity in dental care between the two groups. The reason for this disparity is likely due to the number of states that omit dental coverage from its Medicaid benefit package.
One area that the GAO study did not explore was whether there was a difference in the quality of the healthcare received between the two groups. Even though the GAO omitted this from its study, there’s a body of separate research which suggests that persons covered by Medicaid have worse outcomes than those persons covered by private insurance; still, it’s better than no insurance at all.
The GAO did find a difficulty that’s unique to Medicaid recipients: a lack of transportation to be able to seek out medical care.