Stop the printing presses, the obvious has been confirmed. Getting more people with decent health insurance has tended to reduce financial stress. This is amazingly obvious but important news:
Examining Massachusetts and using different methods and data, a new working paper by Bhash Mazumder and Sarah Miller (ungated) comes to a different conclusion than Himmelstein and colleagues. The investigators also consider a wide array of financial outcomes, including credit card balances, credit balance past due (over 29 days), fraction of debt past due, third-party collections, credit risk score, and bankruptcy….
The authors found that
the reform significantly improved credit scores, reduced the total amount past due, reduced the fraction of debt past due, and reduced the probability of personal bankruptcy. We find particularly pronounced reductions in the probability of having a large delinquency of over $5,000. These effects tend to be larger among individuals whose credit scores were low at the time of the reform, suggesting that the greatest gains in financial security occurred among those who were already struggling financially.
In a rational world, this should be used in the argument that health insurance should increase risk taking as the cost of a medical catastrophe or even a medical problem that is non-catastrophic won’t destroy any and all dreams. But since health insurance in this world would not be tied to massive power imbalances, the lack of humiliation and cap tugging of the supplicant against quasi-random failure is a bug and not a feature for at least 27% of the population and one political party.