Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Lack Of Health Insurance Does Not Cause Earlier Deaths

Posted by Milton Recht:

From John Goodman's Health Policy Blog, "Does Lack of Health Insurance Kill?" by Linda Gorman:
The results from the Oregon Experiment, published in the New England Journal of Medicine on May 2, show that extending Medicaid to low-income adults did not improve basic clinical measures of health. Given that, it is a bit hard to see how being uninsured can cause 45,000 premature deaths every year — a figure rivaling the number of Americans killed in the Vietnam War. That’s the number physicians for a National Health Program say die prematurely in America due to a lack of health insurance.

The Oregon study results probably did not surprise those who have been paying attention to the serious academic literature, however. In independent empirical papers, Richard Kronick and David Card and his colleagues find little evidence that health insurance coverage significantly reduces mortality. Former Director of the Congressional Budget Office June O’Neill and her husband Dave also conclude that lack of insurance has little or no impact on mortality. See the discussion at this blog here, here and here.
The remainder of Gorman's blog post is an excellent review of the research literature on the subject of health insurance and mortality rates.

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