So far, the new Oregon Health Insurance Experiment shows that for very poor and sick folks who go out of their way to request medical insurance, giving them such insurance makes them report feeling healthier. Two‐thirds of this effect appears immediately on granting their request, and before they actually got more medical treatment. It remains to be seen if these healthy feelings will be reflected in more direct health measures, though that seems plausible, and we’ll probably never see mortality effects. The main results of the RAND [health insurance] experiment, which looked at all sorts of people, suggests doubts about presuming that if medicine helps the very poor and sick, it on average helps everyone.
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