One of the most important components of ObamaCare is the expansion of Medicaid. In those states that have done it, the cost to taxpayers runs into billions of dollars. But is this expenditure worthwhile? What if instead of giving people Medicaid insurance, we offered them cash? A new study says they would take the cash. In fact, if you offered the Medicaid population a little more than 20 cents on the dollar, the average enrollee would take the cash.

The study is by Amy Finkelstein (MIT), Nathaniel Hendren (Harvard) and Erzo F.P. Luttner (Dartmouth), three of the nation’s premier health economists. It is based on new evidence from the Oregon Medicaid expansion—an event that has provided social scientists with a wealth of data not previously available.

The authors use a lot of hairy mathematics to come to their conclusions and I won’t subject my readers to that. So let me give a layman’s interpretation of what the results mean—with the understanding that I will fall far short of technical exactness.