Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health Care Reform:

Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act

Study raises possibility that 'Obamacare' may extend lives, too

WebMD News from HealthDay

Death Rates Fell in MA After Health-Care Reform

By Karen Pallarito

HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, May 5, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Providing greater access to health insurance led to a decline in deaths, according to a new study of Massachusetts' health-reform law.

Massachusetts passed comprehensive health reform in 2006, providing a model for the Affordable Care Act -- dubbed by some as "Obamacare." In the four years after the law took effect in Massachusetts, deaths from all causes dropped nearly 3 percent compared with similar counties in states without health reform, the study found.

Researchers estimate that the Massachusetts law prevented 320 deaths a year. That works out to one life saved for every 830 people who gained insurance.

The study, published in the May 6 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine also noted a 4.5 percent decline in deaths from preventable and treatable conditions, such as cancer, infections and heart disease.

Massachusetts differs in many ways from the nation as a whole. But in a larger expansion of coverage, "there is a very real likelihood that you're going to help people live longer," said Dr. Benjamin Sommers, assistant professor of health policy and economics at Harvard School of Public Health and the study's lead author.

Much like Obamacare, the Massachusetts health-reform law expanded Medicaid, subsidized private health plans and created an individual mandate to hold people accountable for getting health coverage. The reforms took effect in 2006 and 2007, several years before President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law in 2010.

Using data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Sommers and colleagues examined changes in death rates for adults, ages 20 to 64, before and after the state enacted health reform, and compared them with the experience in similar counties in states that had not enacted health reform.

The largest gains in life occurred in counties with high poverty and higher rates of uninsured adults before health reform.

"If you think health reform is what's causing this change, that's the pattern you should see, that the people who benefit the most are lower-income and ... uninsured," Sommers said.

Latest Health Reform News

Loading …
URAC: Accredited Health Web Site TRUSTe online privacy certification HONcode Seal AdChoices