Romneycare, that awkward reminder that Republicans tried to expand health care first, continues to haunt the party. On the same day that Massachusetts announced it was scrapping their busted Romneycare exchange, a new Harvard study shows that the mortality rate dropped in Massachusetts after Romney's version of Obamacare took effect in 2006.
The Annals of Internal Medicine study tracked deaths in the state from 2001 to 2010 and compared the rate to counties in New England with similar demographics. It found that the mortality rate dropped by 3 percent in the four years after the health care expansion, according to The New York Times. Nationwide, if the mortality rate dropped 3 percent, that would amount to 17,000 lives. Areas with poor and previously uninsured individuals benefited the most from health insurance and saw the sharpest decline in deaths.
In other words, Romneycare has made a very strong case that Obamacare will save lives. While this study doesn't definitively prove that access to health insurance improves health — it's possible there was some factor the study didn't account for — it's the most compelling argument yet. "It seems pretty clear that expanding insurance coverage will lead to gains in saving lives," Benjamin Sommers, the Harvard University School of Public Health assistant professor who led the study told Vox's Sarah Kliff. "What I don't think you can argue anymore is that health insurance doesn't matter."