Universal Health Insurance Saves Lives. Film at 11.

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.

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  • arakasi

    I just ran some rough calculations to see what would happen if the same results were extended to the rest of the United States. A 3% drop in the death rate would mean 78,000 people would survive who would have otherwise died.

    Or appoximately one 9/11 every two weeks

  • http://www.thelosersleague.com theschwa

    In THAT case, it only worked because a no-nonsense, freedom-loving, entrepreneur enacted the law out of love. With ACA, it done out of hate to kill business. Obviously. Scienticians proved it!

  • eric

    I think the results ARE astonishing…I never would’ve expected such a big impact over a mere four years. A very cursory googling gives me an “all in” death rate in the US of 8 per 1,000 people per year. So after a measly four years, health care has reduced that rate to (rounding) 7 per 1,000 in the affected populations? That is quite remarkable. If someone had told me before this study “If you give your people health care, then one out of every 8 people who would die this year will not die” my response would’ve been “holy crap! Really?”

  • cptdoom

    @eric – I’m totally not surprised, as there are so many preventive care activities that can dramatically reduce death rates – mammograms, colorectal cancer screening, blood pressure control, control of diabetes. I would expect, though, that the reductions in death rates will reduce over time, not only because everyone dies, but because this is a classic example of “low-hanging fruit” – i.e., quality improvement activities that are relatively easy to do and have a big impact.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Sure, but on the other hand, Healthcare is a limited commodity, so if those people (*wink wink*) get it, who is going to nurse my grudge?

  • martinc

    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

    Hmmm, “deaths per 100,000” fell 3%? Didn’t deaths per ANY number fall 3%?

    /pedant

  • ambassadorfromverdammt

    @ 6 martinc

    The “# of deaths/1 person dropped 3%” doesn’t make much sense. So no, not ANY number.

    /smartass

  • jameshanley

    Maybe Massachusetts just got richer and whiter right after it adopted the health care plan. /snark

  • http://festeringscabofrealityblogspot.com fifthdentist

    @1,

    When estimates came out that something like 3 people per day would die in Georgia due to Medicaid not being expanded, I pointed out that if 3 people in a year were killed by a Muslim, or even someone suspected of being Muslim, there is no amount of money the Republican government wouldn’t throw at it.

    The Legislature actually passed — and the governor signed into law — this year a measure that takes the power to expand Medicaid out of the hands of the governor. So now it requires a majority of both houses plus the governor to expand the program.

    So now the poors really are going to get freedomed to death.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=153100784 Michael Brew

    Yeah, but did the people who didn’t die really deserve not to by being fabulously wealthy?

  • tubi

    So this means that House Republicans are death panels?

  • http://polrant@blogspot.com democommie

    “They found that the number of deaths per 100,000 people fell by about three percent in Massachusetts ”

    Oh, sure, they’re gonna beat the horse about that statistic but what’re they saying about that drum of a different color statistic that PRUVES thousands of crackaddictedtehGAYaids babies have been born since the state of MA went all gayhomomawwiage? And don’t tell me it’s NOT happening, I got e-mails, pal, I got E-MAILS!!