Massachusetts' deaths fall after coverage expansion

Published on May 7, 2014 at 3:16 AM · No Comments

Fewer people died in Massachusetts after the state required virtually all residents to have health insurance, according to researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health. The study found the steepest decline in counties with the highest proportions of poor and previously uninsured people.

Los Angeles Times: Massachusetts Study Suggests Health Insurance Saves Lives
Giving more people health insurance could save tens of thousands of lives nationwide, according to a new analysis of data from Massachusetts, whose reforms became the model for President Obama's health law (Levey, 5/5).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: More Insurance Equals Fewer Deaths In Massachusetts
Fewer people died in Massachusetts after the state required people to have health insurance, according to researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health. In each of the first four years of the state law, 320 fewer Massachusetts men and women died than would have been expected. That's one life extended for every 830 newly insured residents (Bebinger, 5/6).

The New York Times: Mortality Drop Seen To Follow '06 Health Law
The study tallied deaths in Massachusetts from 2001 to 2010 and found that the mortality rate -; the number of deaths per 100,000 people -; fell by about 3 percent in the four years after the law went into effect. The decline was steepest in counties with the highest proportions of poor and previously uninsured people. In contrast, the mortality rate in a control group of counties similar to Massachusetts in other states was largely unchanged (Tavernise, 5/5).

The Boston Globe: Study Calls Wide Mass. Coverage A Lifesaver
The groundbreaking Massachusetts health insurance law may have prevented about 320 deaths a year, according to a Harvard study of the legislation that was used as a model for President Obama's national health program. The researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health, in a study published Monday, estimated that the law, which expanded coverage to most residents, has saved about one life for every 830 people who enrolled in health insurance. "This is a strong and credible finding," said Austin Frakt, a health economist at Boston University School of Medicine who wrote an editorial that accompanied the study. "I think there's enough evidence at this point to conclude that health insurance does improve health and mortality" (Kotz, 5/5).

Reuters:  Deaths Fell After Mass. Healthcare Overhaul
When Massachusetts blazed the trail of healthcare reform in 2006 by expanding coverage for the poor and requiring all residents to have health insurance, it may have done more than serve as a model for nationwide reform: it also seemed to save lives, according to a study released on Monday. The findings, reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine, are the first to provide a detailed analysis of the effects of systematically expanding healthcare coverage. Increasing access to Medicaid, the government-run insurance program for the poor, and mandating that everyone have health insurance were the two centerpieces of Massachusetts' healthcare reform (Seaman, 5/5).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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