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Study highlights benefits of health insurance for the poor

by nickj on July 8, 2011

As politicians decide whether to make cuts to Medicaid, a new study suggests they might want to think twice about doing so. The New York Times reports that researchers have found that there are numerous benefits to providing the poor with health insurance.

At face value, the study seemingly validates an obvious conclusion, the health insurance helps those who are uninsured, but opponents of programs such as Medicaid have argued that it costs the country too much money and is unnecessary thanks to the presence of emergency rooms and free clinics.

However, what these findings show is that individuals who were insured were more likely to get routine, and beneficial, health procedures done. For example, the news source reports the study determined that women with insurance were 60 percent more likely to have mammograms and others were 20 percent more likely to get their cholesterol checked. Additionally, Medicaid beneficiaries were 55 percent more likely to regularly see the same doctor, and there was a better chance they would say their health was good or excellent

The team of scientists is currently examining the health effects of insurance, and economists believe that the findings will have an impact for years to come.

"It’s obviously a really important paper," economist James Smith told the news source. "It is going to be a classic."

The study could be especially important now, more than ever, as politicians weigh the options of cutting Medicaid to reduce the deficit. However, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has held firm that she and other Democrats "do not support cuts in benefits," according to The Hill. 

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