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Health Insurance for Children Would Bring Economic Benefits

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

New research shows that universal health insurance for children in America would bring more economic benefit than cost. The results of providing health insurance to children and access to health care would also provide America with happier and more productive adults.

"Providing health insurance to all children in America will yield substantial economic benefits,” writes Vivian Ho, chair in health economics at the Baker Institute and associate professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. Access to health care will improve productivity as adults, yielding long-term economic benefits that go beyond the initial cost of health care for children.

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The researchers looked at studies from peer-reviewed journals to conclude that it is economically sound make sure America’s children have health insurance. The authors say the cost of insuring children "will be offset by the increased value of additional life years and improved health-related quality of life gained from improved health care. From a societal perspective, universal coverage for children appears to be cost-saving."

According to the findings of the analysis, more than 8 million children in the U.S. are uninsured. Despite the high rate of health care 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." Universal health insurance for children could have huge economic benefits in adulthood.

Insuring children with have immediate benefits say collaborating study authors Vivian Ho, and Marah Short, senior staff researcher in health economics at the Baker Institute. The “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, " leading to the economic benefits of productivity from providing insurance for all of America’s children.

Source: James A. Baker III Institute for Public Police Rice University



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