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Child patient being examined by doctor.

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.

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.

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).

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Thu Jun 05, 2014 at 01:37 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (11+ / 0-)

    "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. [...] There would be no place to hide."--Frank Church

    by Joan McCarter on Thu Jun 05, 2014 at 01:37:56 PM PDT

  •  Health and well being of students (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    is terribly discounted by the public at large as a factor in educational achievement. We have classrooms that hit 90F during some afternoons and we wonder why those kids aren't learning algebra.

    This is an interesting study that goes with these points:

    Poor ventilation in classrooms is correlated with student absences due to illness, researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found, and they calculated that increasing air flow in all California classrooms to state-mandated ventilation rates may have potentially significant effects: reducing student absences caused by illness by 3.4 percent and, because schools are funded based on average daily attendance, increasing overall state funding to schools by $33 million.

    “Our overall findings suggest that, if you increased ventilation rates of classrooms up to the state standard, or even above it, you would get net benefits to schools, to families, to everybody, at very low cost,” Berkeley lab scientist Mark Mendell, lead author of the study, published in the journal Indoor Air, said in a news release. “It’s really a win-win situation.”

    The Berkeley Lab scientists collected data from 28 schools in three California school districts in the Central Valley, the Bay Area and the south coast, but the study did not identify the districts. Instrumental to the study were small environmental sensors placed in 162 3rd, 4th and 5th grade classrooms, which allowed researchers to measure carbon dioxide levels as 5-minute averages. The data were transmitted online to the researchers, who compared indoor carbon dioxide levels to estimates of outdoor carbon dioxide levels to calculate ventilation rates.

    Absence rate is closely correlated to student achievement.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Thu Jun 05, 2014 at 01:44:57 PM PDT

  •  SHHH! Don’t Tell RED STATE parents... (0+ / 0-)

    oh well they probably can’t read it anyway.

    Proud to be part of the 21st Century Democratic Majority Party of the 3M's.. Multiracial, Multigender and MiddleClass

    by LOrion on Thu Jun 05, 2014 at 02:03:17 PM PDT

  •  From my reading of the abstract (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    ..they did their best to control for factors leading to the correlation and consider it in context, which is not the same thing as determine.  

    Given that this study's period took place as St. Ronnie and then (especially and in some ways worse) St. Bill were dismantling the social safety net, it is easy to wonder how well you can control for other contributing factors, when so many things were being taken away in tandem and on so many different levels.  Of course kids need health care (and so do their parents!) and it should not be in competition for a roof and three squares and a safe environment I'm not saying that the impact isn't this large or this real or that one thing should win out.  Studies and numbers can be very useful without discovering clean causation.  But...

    ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

    by jessical on Thu Jun 05, 2014 at 02:03:57 PM PDT

  •  ANOTHER reason the GOP opposes it (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    #GOPMotto An educated electorate is our worst nightmare

  •  Let's run some numbers... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Medicaid costs $2851 for each child covered.

    If a 10% increase gives us 5% more high-school graduates, that's like paying ($2851 x 2) = $5700 per diploma.

    Is it worth it? Well, a person with an HS diploma makes about $10,000 more per year than one without one.

    That $10,000 will be taxed. People in the lowest brackets don't pay income tax, but they do pay an average of 9.6% in sales taxes.

    Just from the sales tax, the government makes back their money in six years! This doesn't include the increase in health, college graduation, or Income Taxes.

    Stuff like this is a no-brainer.

  •  Baggers don't need not stink'in edumacated kids. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Healthy kids are better educated kids therefore will want more education, more money, ask questions, expect answers and generally screw up the capitalistic way in Umerca.


    A government afraid of its citizens is a Democracy. Citizens afraid of government is tyranny! Thomas Jefferson

    by wbishop3 on Sat Jun 07, 2014 at 03:42:59 PM PDT

  •  You didn't complete the sentence in the title (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It should have read:

    "Kids with health insurance more likely to complete education and vote for Democrats."

    Thus, it's bad. Kids who have health insurance and thus have a good education that includes critical thinking and skills beyond selling 'burgers are not part of the GOP plan for the future.

    New Mexico: Not really new. Not really Mexico.

    by newmexicobear on Sat Jun 07, 2014 at 08:47:21 PM PDT

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