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HEALTH REFORM: Reduced mortality in Massachusetts after 2006 reform–good news for the nation?

Massachusetts provides an interesting test case for the nation because of the comprehensive health reform passed in the state in 2006 — reform which served as a model for the Affordable Care Act passed by Congress a few years later.  In this study, the authors (affiliated with the Harvard School of Public Health and the Urban Institute) compared all-cause mortality rates for adults aged 20 to 64 years between Massachusetts and other New England states before and after the reforms were initiated.

The principal finding was “a significant reduction in mortality among nonelderly adults in Massachusetts since its 2006 reform relative to a control group of similar counties in states without such reforms.”  Also of interest is the finding that the decrease in mortality tended to be concentrated in diseases that are treatable, at least in the short-term — cancer, infections, cardiovascular conditions.

The authors calculated a “coverage-to-mortality” ratio for a population that is gaining health insurance:  830 adults gaining insurance would tend to result in one death prevented per year.

Source: Sommers, B.D., Long, S.K., and Baicker, K.  Changes in mortality after Massachusetts health care reform: a quasi-experimental study.  Annals of Internal Medicine;160:585-593, May 6, 2014.  Click here for access to publisher’s website:  http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=1867050   Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org



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