Oh My God — insurance works to reduce financial stress

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:

Academy Health:

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.

13 replies
  1. 1
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Then there’s the 1/3 of the country that Noisemax celebrates, those who apparently see financial stress as some sort of high, at least if it’s coupled with hatred of the ni*CLANG* in the White House.

  2. 2
    IowaOldLady says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: I was just looking at that Newsmax headline. Will Newsmax celebrate when these courageous rebels turn up at the hospital uninsured and expect the rest of us to pay for their treatment? Where does that fit in their hierarchy of makers and takers?

  3. 3
    raven says:

    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
    Capitol police removed 16 people from the Georgia Senate gallery Tuesday morning after they began a staggered wave of protests urging Gov. Nathan Deal to reverse his course on expanding Medicaid.

  4. 4
    raven says:

    Rep. Jason Spencer on Monday called a decision by the Senate Rules Committee to table — and effectively kill — his anti-Obamacare legislation an “eleventh-hour betrayal.”
    House Bill 707 would have barred any state or local government or agency from using its resources to advocate for Medicaid expansion, operate a health insurance exchange or operate a navigator program to help Georgians apply for health coverage on the federal Health Insurance Marketplace. Last week, the Senate Insurance and Labor Committee approved the bill in a five-minute meeting that included no public discussion of the legislation. . .“A patriot saves his country from his government,” he said. “HB 707 would have been the first occasion in a century to draw a constitutional line against state complicity in endless federal encroachment

  5. 5
    Mike in NC says:

    The only folks I’ve ever met who read Newsmax — or have even heard of it — are in their mid-70s.

  6. 6
    srv says:

    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

    Oh, so now all these sick people living unhealthy lifestyles can avoid the consequences of bad choices and have money to blow on new TVs and houses they can’t afford.

    Why doesn’t Obama just give everybody a Cadillac already?

  7. 7


    the first occasion in a century to draw a constitutional line against state complicity in endless federal encroachment

    ‘Endless federal encroachment’ = ‘Yankees forcing us to treat blacks as humans’.

  8. 8
    MomSense says:

    I was always so worried about what would happen if one of us had a medical emergency or even just a minor injury because the cost of just an ER visit and treatment for a sprain and to rule out a fracture is incredibly expensive when you are uninsured. There was also the expense of physicals so that kids could play sports. When I was a kid, we could get sports physicals at school but those days are long gone. You add the sports physical to the cost of equipment and registration–and you are talking real money.

    I’m sure there are a lot of parents like me who appreciate having health insurance just for the ordinary medical issues.

  9. 9
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Mike in NC: After doing canvassing calls this week I’m seriously questioning the notion of having super elderly people vote. I know, I know, when would you cut it off? One person’s 50 is another’s 90, etcet. But talk about some seriously confused, sick people. Plus the angry family members buzzing around. Maybe it was a tainted deck, I mean I was calling “undecided”s.

  10. 10
    WaterGirl says:

    @Mike in NC: I got on a Newsmax email list in 2007 when I had to share my email address in order to participate in some presidential poll.

    I don’t read the crazy right wing sites, so I left myself on the email list so I could get some idea of what the crazies are hearing. Most of the time I don’t even open the message – the subject line says it all – but occasionally they actually report real news and I wonder if hell has frozen over or if the world is about to end.

  11. 11
    daverave says:


    You neglected to mention the fresh salmon these ingrates are scarfing down on a regular basis.

  12. 12
    rikyrah says:

    The financial benefits should be obvious.

    If you were paying $1100/month for insurance, and now you’re paying $500/month, that’s $600/month in your pocket. Maybe you all are doing ‘ that well’, but $600/month freed up in a budget is a nice chunk of money to me.

  13. 13
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Another Holocene Human: There’s “undecided” and there’s “can’t decide because [insert medical condition here]”. I’ve met one or two that were thoroughly POd that they couldn’t find Dewey on the ballot, though they knew he had to be there somewhere.

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