As lawmakers in Washington, D.C., prepare to take a cleaver to programs in an effort to lower the nation's budget, some may consider a new bipartisan study out today that indicates Medicaid makes a "big difference" in the lives of the poor and, as a result, is a major benefit to the nation's economy.
The study is being published as a working paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research and includes authors from both sides of the political aisle: Katherine Baicker, an economic adviser to President George W. Bush and economist Jonathan Gruber who has advised the Obama administration.
The study found that when poor people are given medical insurance, they not only access regular care but they feel better, are less depressed and are better able to maintain financial stability. The research found that those with insurance were 25 percent less likely to have an unpaid bill sent to a collection agency and were 40 percent less likely to borrow money or fail to pay other bills because they had to pay medical bills.
"Being uninsured is incredibly stressful from a financial perspective, a psychological perspective, a physical perspective," Baicker wrote in the report. "It is a huge relief to people not to have to worry about it day in and day out."