In a continuing study, an all-star group of researchers following Ms. [Wendy] Parris and tens of thousands of other Oregonians has found that gaining insurance makes people feel healthier, happier and more financially stable. The insured also spend more on health care, dashing some hopes of preventive-medicine advocates who have argued that coverage can save money ”” by keeping people out of emergency rooms, for instance. In Oregon, the newly insured spent an average of $778 a year, or 25 percent, more on health care than those who did not win insurance.
For the nation, the lesson appears to be mixed. Expanded coverage brings large benefits to many people, but it is also more likely to increase a stretched federal government’s long-term budget responsibilities.