The big health care access study you need to see

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The results are out for one of the first, large-scale studies of how increased access to health care affects health outcomes, and while it may seem to be a no-brainer, the evidence supports what health care advocates long have been saying.

increased access saves lives notepadIncreasing people’s access to health insurance – and by extension, health care – absolutely saves lives.

The study was performed by the medical journal Annals of Internal Medicine and examined mortality rates in Massachusetts between 2007-2010. In 2006, Massachusetts greatly expanded access to health care for people with low-incomes. The state expanded Medicaid for those earning less than 100 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) and provided subsidies to help buy private insurance for people who earned up to 300 percent FPL.

The Incidental Economist blog has a helpful explainer of the study.

The results show the overall mortality rate declined by 2.9 percent and the rate of deaths in cases that are affected by health care access declined by 4.5 percent.

This means one death was prevented for every 830 people who gained health coverage.

The health care policy debate has been a heated one in South Carolina over the last few years, but one thing no longer in dispute is that making sure more South Carolinians have access to health coverage certainly would save lives.

Guest Blogger: Jeff Sheldon, Nebraska Appleseed (one of 17 centers in the Appleseed Network)