A new study finds that if people have access to health insurance, they tend to live longer and healthier lives. Really, who would have guessed? The study is of the universal health care law in Massachusetts, which is nearly identical to the Affordable Care Act.
Researchers examined mortality data for counties in Massachusetts as well as similar areas in other states that didn’t expand health coverage. They found that the number of deaths per 100,000 people fell by about three percent in Massachusetts in the four years after the health reform law took effect. Meanwhile, they didn’t observe the same decline in other states…
That suggests that for every 830 people who gained insurance, one death was prevented. And perhaps unsurprisingly, the researchers found that that health reform had a particularly significant impact in the areas of Massachusetts with previously high rates of poverty and uninsurance; the mortality rate decline was steepest there.“These are really important findings,” said Sara Collins, the vice president for the Commonwealth Fund, a nonpartisan health policy research foundation, told the Los Angeles Times. “We already know people with health insurance have a very different quality of life…. This study provides convincing evidence that increasing the number of people with insurance leads to lower rates of mortality.”
So when you make sure people have access to health care, they’re healthier and live longer? And the difference is biggest for those who lacked that access previously? That’s astonishing.