An article published June 21 in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) argues health insurance coverage in the U.S. is, indeed, a boon to wellness and mortality.
The authors of the article, Drs. Benjamin Sommers, Atul Gawande and Katherine Baicker, looked to address claims presented by opponents of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) who say coverage ultimately has little impact on overall wellness and mortality.
“For instance, politicians have recently argued that the number of people with health insurance is not a useful policy metric and that no one dies from a lack of access to health care,” the authors write.
The article was published in the NEJM less than a week before the Congressional Budget Office released its report of Senate Republicans’ health care reform proposal. According to the CBO, some 22 million more would be without insurance by 2026.
According to the article, evidence pointed to greater access to preventative services with the expansion of health coverage, too.
“Studies of the Massachusetts’ health care reform and the ACA’s Medicaid expansion found higher rates of preventative health care visits, and although the utility of the ‘annual exam’ is uncertain, such visits may facilitate more specific evidence-based screening,” the authors write.
Despite the numerous unanswered questions and problems regarding U.S. health insurance policy, the authors concluded that “arguing that health insurance coverage doesn’t improve health is simply inconsistent with the evidence.”