Despite the controversy surrounding the Affordable Care Act there is one aspect that seems indisputable , and that is the idea that if people have health insurance, whether it be expanded Medicaid or insurance through the private or federal or state exchange, that more people will be healthier, no?
Studies Show Health Insurance Makes an Important Difference
Much attention and study has been paid to the associated costs of Obamacare, but until recently very little attention has been paid to whether or not having health insurance is producing positive outcomes on health in general. A study just released in Health Affairs broke this research down into categories of people with chronic disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. The study examined information collected from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey during the period of 1999 to 2012 which studied the effects of the health outcomes and its relationships to having health insurance coverage, diagnosis and treatment of chronic diseases such as high cholesterol, diabetes and hypertension.
The evidence of the data showed that people who were insured had much higher likelihood of being diagnosed with chronic diseases than did the equivalent number of people who were uninsured; insured people were diagnosed for diabetes 14 percent higher, hypertension was 9 percent higher, and those with high cholesterol were also diagnosed 9 percent more often. For those examined that already had these pre-existing conditions data showed that the insured people had significantly lower blood sugar, total cholesterol and blood pressure. The researchers concluded that if the number of non-elderly uninsured people between 20 and 64 years of age could be reduced by fifty percent it is estimated there would be 1.5 million more diagnosis’ being made of these type chronic health conditions, which could result in 659,000 fewer cases of uncontrolled diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol.
In a smaller study on the effects of insurance expansion as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare in the state of Massachusetts, it was found that there was a significant drop in the mortality rate of people age 20 to 64 years of age during the period of 2009 to 2012; with eight fewer deaths per 100,000 people.
And yet another study in Massachusetts, after weighing the variable factors, concluded that its residents age 18 to 64, comparing periods before and after healthcare reform between 2001 to 2011, saw increases in more preventative care services and residents stated they had greater improvements in their physical, mental health and general overall health altogether. (It should be noted that Massachusetts initiated its own healthcare reform before the ACA)
Although there will most likely continue to be debates on the different aspects of the Affordable Care Act, on this one point both sides should be able to agree, the more people who have health insurance the healthier Americans will be. Early diagnosis can lead to better health management, preventative steps in healthcare can prevent diseases from occurring, and even reversal of diseases such as those in the studies mentioned above; diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol all can be much more achievable with health insurance. And although other deadly diseases were not included in the study it is common sense to understand that the same would be true for other serious conditions and diseases such as coronary disease and even cancers, as early detection and management can make all the difference in a person’s prognosis. So no matter what side of the fence you may be on politically or how health insurance coverage gets accomplished, whether its healthcare vouchers, private insurance or Medicaid getting all Americans covered with health insurance is a goal we can achieve. It is the law now, if you haven’t signed up for the ACA yet do it today and live a longer, healthier life.