Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Community News Network

January 2, 2014

Four ways to tell if Affordable Care Act is working

(Continued)

WASHINGTON — Do Americans have better access to health care?

Insurance cards, on their own, are not very much fun. In fact, they're probably among the more boring pieces of plastic you own. Nobody pays hundreds of dollars each year in premiums to get a small plastic card; they do it for the access that card gives to insurance coverage. So another metric to measure the ACA is whether Americans have an easier time seeing the doctor, for example, or meeting their medical needs without financial hardship.

This is true both for those gaining coverage under the health law and for those who already have it. One metric researchers were really interested in comes from Massachusetts, where they can measure what happened to those who already had coverage when many more people gained access to it. They can look at this by researching wait times to see doctors and surveying the general population about whether they can afford the care they need more easily. A much-watched study of Oregon's Medicaid expansion -- where coverage was assigned randomly, by lottery -- was one example where researchers showed a reduction in financial hardships when Oregonians enrolled in the public program.

Are Americans getting healthier?

The whole idea of health insurance -- as the name pretty bluntly implies -- is improving health. That's why this is another metric that will likely be tracked with the ACA, whether the insurance expansion is making the population healthier.

Proving a link between health insurance coverage and health status improvement can be challenging. Trips to the doctor are, obviously, only one factor among dozens that contribute to an individual's physical well-being. That same study of the Oregon Medicaid expansion showed a 30 percent reduction in depression rates, but found no short-term impact on physical health measures, such as cholesterol and blood pressure.

Text Only
Community News Network
  • The Simpsons still going strong

    The groundbreaking animation first hit the air Dec. 17, 1989, but the family first appeared on television in "The Tracey Ullman Show" short "Good Night" on April 19, 1987.

    August 21, 2014

  • Police chief resigns over racial slur repost to Facebook

    A repost on his personal Facebook page of a racially-charged comment by the original poster of a comedy video has forced the police chief of an Oklahoma city to resign his office.

    August 21, 2014

  • Does Twitter need a censor?

    Twitter decided last year to make images more prominent on its site. Now, the social network is finding itself caught between being an open forum and patrolling for inappropriate content.

    August 21, 2014

  • sleepchart.jpg America’s sleep-deprived cities

    Americans might run on sleep, but those living in the country's largest cities don't appear to run on much.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Who should pay for your kids ACT?

    Thirteen states paid for 11th-grade students in all public high schools to take the ACT college admission test this year, with several more planning to join them in 2015.

    August 20, 2014

  • Pets.jpg Why do people look like their pets?

    As much as we might quibble over the virtues and vices of Canis domesticus, however, and over whether human nature is any better or worse than dog nature, even dog fanciers don't usually want to look like a dog.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ice bucket challenge trending up

    Internet trends are a dime a dozen these days. Everything from Tebowing to planking to the cinnamon challenge can cause a wave of social media activity that can last for weeks before fizzling out.

    August 19, 2014

  • Africa goes medieval in its fight against Ebola

    As the Ebola epidemic claims new victims at an ever-increasing rate, African governments in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia have instituted a "cordon sanitaire," deploying troops to forcibly isolate the inhabitants in an area containing most of the cases.

    August 18, 2014

  • Democrat? Republican? There's an app for that

    If you're a Republican, you might want to think twice before buying Lipton Iced Tea, and forget about Starbucks coffee. If you're a Democrat, put down that Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, and throw away the cylinder of Quaker Oats in your pantry.

    August 18, 2014

  • Five myths about presidential vacations

    In the nuclear age, presidents may have only minutes to make a decision that could affect the entire world. They don't so much leave the White House as they take a miniature version of it with them wherever they go.

    August 15, 2014

AP Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.