Economic Benefits Would Outweigh Costs -- MEDICA - World Forum for Medicine

Economic Benefits Would Outweigh Costs

photo: child

Providing health insurance for US
children would be cheaper than
expected; © Rice University

Vivian Ho, chair in health economics, and Marah Short, senior staff researcher in health economics, based their research on recent studies published in peer-reviewed journals to examine the evidence regarding the economic impact of failing to insure all children in the United States.

"The collective body of research that we have reviewed," Ho and Short said, "provides compelling evidence that covering all children in the United States with health insurance will yield immediate improvements in the health of children, as well as long-term returns of greater health and productivity in adulthood. The upfront incremental costs of universal health insurance coverage for children are relatively modest, and they will be offset by the value of increased health capital gained in the long term."

Ho and Short compared the children's health care in the United States to the care provided in other industrialized countries and found that despite higher per capita spending, "the United States ranks third-highest among 30 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries in the percentage of the population lacking health insurance, with one in seven people uninsured." They estimate the number of uninsured children in the U.S. to be more than 8 million.

The literature clearly indicates this lack of coverage leads to "lower access to medical care and lower use of health care services." It may even be reflected in relatively high child morbidity rates in the United States. Moreover, lack of health care for children has long-term effects as those children become adults.; Source: Rice University