Here's another bonus to the expansion of health insurance under Obamacare: it's future impact for children. A new study has determined that health insurance doesn't just help kids' health, it improves their educational outcomes.
The paper, recently published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, examined expansions of Medicaid in the 1980s and 1990s. The authors found that the expansions resulted in consistent improvements in high school and college attainment.The are a couple of factors likely behind the better educational achievement. First, it's easier to do well in school and advance if you're healthy. But a secondary benefit of health coverage is more financial security in the family and less spent on health-related expenses, not just for the children, but for the entire family. That makes the argument for Medicaid expansion even stronger (as if it would matter to Republicans).
A 10 percentage point increase in childhood Medicaid eligibility reduced the rate of high school dropouts by 5 percent and increased completion of a bachelor's degree by 3.3 to 3.7 percent.
Previous research has demonstrated a positive short-term relationship between access to health care and education—when schools offer health care services to students, attendance rates rise and teen pregnancies fall—but this paper is the first to look at educational impacts over a longer time frame.