Health Insurance Reduces Poverty

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Graph showing percentage-point reductions in health-inclusive poverty rates by health insurance types

A recent Health Affairs article pioneers a new way to gauge the impact of health insurance. Dahlia Remler, Sanders Korenman, and Rosemary Hyson developed a measure of poverty which differs from the Census Bureau’s measure of poverty by taking health into account. Through this measure, they demonstrated that public health insurance programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and premium subsidies on an exchange, reduced poverty rates by 4.6 percentage points. Children younger than 18 years of age benefited particularly from Medicaid and CHIP, with a 5.3% reduction in poverty. But the strongest overall relationship was felt by people on Medicaid who experienced a 17.1% reduction in poverty.

 

Graph showing percentage-point reductions in health-inclusive poverty rates from various programs by selected characteristics

Feature image and graph from Health Affairs 36, No. 10 (2017): 1828–1837 doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2017.0331 

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