Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin went on MSNBC to defend his state’s decision to reduce the number of people eligible for Medicaid and made the staggeringly stupid argument that access to health care actually makes people more sick. All based on a terrible correlation without causation argument.
“The intent is not to save money,” Bevin claimed. “The intent is to get people engaged in their own health outcome, because what we’ve seen for fifty some odd years of these programs, Medicaid, we are not helping people’s health become better. We’re not. Especially for those who are able-bodied.”…
“In Kentucky, we have more people than ever on Medicaid and we are — we are increasing in leading the nation in things like lung cancer and things like premature deaths and things like diabetes and hypertension and cardiovascular disease and pick the category,” Bevin claimed.“Since we have expanded Medicaid we’ve only gotten worse, so the argument would be that well if you provide coverage, somehow people will be healthier. That is not the case,” Bevin claimed.
Here’s the thing about correlation and causation. The cliche is that correlation does not equal causation, but it really should be that correlation does not necessarily equal causation. Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t. How do we know when it does and when it doesn’t? By controlling for other variables and making logical inferences from the evidence available. Bevin does not attempt to provide a rational argument for why greater access to medical care would cause more lung cancer and other negative health outcomes, for the obvious reason that he can’t. There is no logical cause and effect argument there, whereas there obviously is for the opposite. Which means there are other variables at play here because there simply have to be.