Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Significant decline in deaths after Massachusetts' health reform

Date:
May 5, 2014
Source:
Harvard School of Public Health
Summary:
In the first four years after Massachusetts instituted comprehensive health reform in 2006, mortality in the state decreased by 2.9% compared with similar populations in states that didn’t expand health coverage, according to a study. The researchers estimated Massachusetts’ health reform law has prevented about 320 deaths per year -— one life saved for each 830 people gaining insurance.

In the first four years after Massachusetts instituted comprehensive health reform in 2006, mortality in the state decreased by 2.9% compared with similar populations in states that didn't expand health coverage, according to a new study led by Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers. They estimated that Massachusetts' health reform law, which provided near-universal coverage, has prevented approximately 320 deaths per year -- one life saved for each 830 people gaining insurance.

The study -- which provides new scientifically rigorous analysis of whether health insurance expansion can save lives -- appears May 5, 2014 in Annals of Internal Medicine.

"Given that Massachusetts' health reform was in many ways the model for the Affordable Care Act, it is critical to understand the law's potential implications for population health," said Benjamin Sommers, assistant professor of health policy and economics at HSPH and lead author of the study. "What we found in Massachusetts after reform was a significant reduction in deaths from the kinds of illnesses where we expect health care to have the biggest impact, including infections, cancer, and cardiovascular disease."

Sommers and colleagues -- including senior author Katherine Baicker, professor of health economics at HSPH, and economist Sharon Long of the Urban Institute -- looked at changes in mortality rates for adults ages 20-64 in Massachusetts before the state's health reform (2001 to 2005) and after (2007 to 2010). They compared the changes in Massachusetts counties to changes in demographically similar counties in other states that had not enacted health reform during the same period. Data came from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Census Bureau.

The researchers found that the decline in mortality was concentrated among causes of death most likely to be preventable or treatable with timely health care, and they found that Massachusetts counties with lower median incomes and a higher percentage of uninsured adults before the law was passed -- areas likely to have experienced the greatest increase in access to care under reform -- gained the largest health benefits. In addition, the decline in mortality was nearly twice as large for minorities as it was for whites.

The results also showed that after the expansion there were fewer adults in Massachusetts without insurance, fewer cost-related barriers to care, more outpatient visits, and improvements in self-reported health.

"Our findings add to a growing body of evidence showing that health insurance makes a positive difference in people's lives," said Sommers. "How closely the impact of the Affordable Care Act will mirror the Massachusetts' experience is something we'll have to continue watching closely, but this is certainly encouraging news for the law's potential impact on public health."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Harvard School of Public Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Benjamin D. Sommers, Sharon K. Long, Katherine Baicker. Changes in Mortality After Massachusetts Health Care Reform. Annals of Internal Medicine, 2014; 160 (9): 585 DOI: 10.7326/M13-2275

Cite This Page:

Harvard School of Public Health. "Significant decline in deaths after Massachusetts' health reform." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140505211039.htm>.
Harvard School of Public Health. (2014, May 5). Significant decline in deaths after Massachusetts' health reform. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140505211039.htm
Harvard School of Public Health. "Significant decline in deaths after Massachusetts' health reform." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140505211039.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

AFP (July 24, 2014) America's death penalty debate raged Thursday after it took nearly two hours for Arizona to execute a prisoner who lost a Supreme Court battle challenging the experimental lethal drug cocktail. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins