And that is pretty much what hundreds of newspapers and other news sources reported as well.
But between the lines, I read something else, as the headline states. I read that thousands of people almost certainly died because the expanded Medicaid was not implemented in the three "control group" states. I extrapolated to make a conclusion, and it's a leap, but not that big of one. When Obama's Affordable Care Act is put into place in 2014, when Republican governors refuse to accept 90% payment for Medicaid that is very similar to the programs assessed in the Harvard study, tens of thousands of people who would have lived may die because the governors refused coverage for them.
Another article reporting on the study stated,
The difference in mortality rates, if applied to Florida, would yield about 5,680 fewer deaths per year among under-65 adults, Health News Florida calculated last week.
That same article reports that the coverage will bring an additional $24 billion in federal funds into the state of Florida. But Governor Scott is concerned that Florida won't be able to pay the 10% that Florida will have to cover-- under $3 billion. If Florida gets $24 billion, then it's hard to imagine how Florida won't be able to recover that amount in taxes, money saved putting people to work with the $24 billion and money that gets recycled into the Florida economy.
But no-one, none of the sampling of the 100 articles reporting on the study that I viewed took the logical step of drawing some pretty ugly conclusions.
If the programs will pretty much pay for themselves and maybe even yield profits for the states, and bring in thousand or hundreds of thousands of jobs, why would Republican governors make a decision to withhold healthcare for the poor? I have to ask, and it's the reason I interviewed Dr. Sommers, is it reasonable to assume that thousands of people will die if the governors reject the funding?
Here's how my conversation with Dr. Sommers went:
Rob: So, that's three states. How many deaths would've been prevented based on these numbers if the control states--the ones that didn't implement the expanded Medicare, had implemented it.
Dr. Sommers: So, we didn't look directly at that and it's hard to extrapolate directly because the states that are expanding Medicaid and the ones that didn't are somewhat different. It's possible if the non-expanding states had done it, it would have had a different impact, but the population size is pretty similar in those other states and so we might expect a similar size affect; potentially several thousand lives saved each year.