Does ObamaCare cause psychological distress among US adults?

January 9, 2014

The Affordable Care Act, dubbed 'ObamaCare', has proven to be one of the most controversial legislative acts of the Obama presidency. New research, published in Stress & Health explores the psychological relationship between patients and health insurance coverage, finding that adults with private or no health insurance coverage experience lower levels of psychological distress than those with public coverage. In contrast, average absolute levels of distress were high among those with no coverage, compared to those with private coverage.

To examine the relationship between psychological distress and health insurance status, data was taken from the 2001–2010 National Health Interview Survey, from which the team used date representing U.S. adults aged between 18 and 64.

Adults with private or no had lower levels of psychological distress than those with public or other forms of coverage. Adults who recently experienced a change in health insurance status had higher levels of distress than those who had not recently experienced a change. However, for adults who had not experienced a change in status in the past year, the average absolute level of distress is higher among those with no coverage versus private coverage.

More information: Brian W. Ward, Michael E. Martinez, 'Health Insurance Status and Psychological Distress among US Adults Aged 18-64 Years, Stress & Health', Wiley, DOI: 10.1002/smi.2559

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