(Natural News) Of the myriad of problems associated with the healthcare reform disaster known as Obamacare, you can add alcoholism to the list. Or, at least, the threat of rising alcoholism.
Just a few years into full implementation of the law and more Americans have taken up the drink, according to a new study, PJ Media reports.
“We find relatively robust evidence that the ACA increased risky drinking,” says the report, which is titled, “The Affordable Care Act on Health Behaviors After Three Years,” and which was published by the National Bureau of Economic Research earlier this month. The study was authored by researchers from Georgia State University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Kentucky, and Maryland-based analysis firm Impaq International.
PJ Media notes further:
The idea behind the research was to look at the impact of the [Affordable Care Act] and the expansion of Medicaid on behavior related to future health risks, both those that increased the likelihood of future problems and those that decreased the chance.
For each year of the analysis, which ran from 2011 through 2016, the researchers collected data on more than 300,000 adults aged 19-64 years. That covered the three years before the full implementation of the Obamacare program and three years after the kickoff date when buying insurance became mandatory.
What they found was that risky drinking behavior was trending downward during the data sample’s first three years, which was the before-Obamacare period. After the ACA was implemented, things changed for the worse.
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“We observe only one statistically significant [risky behavior] effect of the full ACA: a 1.6 percentage point increase in the probability of being a risky drinker,” according to the report. “This represents a sizable 7.4 percent increase relative to the sample mean.”
That means that the average rate of risky drinking climbed to 23.1 percent, or about 1.6 percent higher than after Obamacare was fully implemented. But researchers said that the uptick in risky alcohol consumption wasn’t just a statistical blip. Most all of it is directly tied to the ACA instead of Medicaid expansion.
The increase in risky alcohol use is in contrast to the researchers’ findings regarding other unhealthy habits. For example, there has been a decline in smoking since the ACA passed — which followed the pattern of decline before the law took effect. And there have been some benefits to the law’s passage, such as an increase in regular medical check-ups and preventative medical procedures like mammograms. (Related: Report: Obamacare, Medicaid expansion CONTRIBUTED to country’s OPIOID epidemic.)
So, why did alcohol abuse increase after the ACA was passed? The authors point to something they call “moral hazard,” which essentially means that when people have insurance of any kind that tends to change their behavior.
“Why lock your car when the insurance company will buy you a new one if it is stolen? Why worry about turning off the oven if the insurer will replace your burned-out house? You get the idea,” PJ Media noted.
Moral hazard factors in even when the full cost of being less careful isn’t covered.
“There’s no reason that the cost has to be eliminated completely for some sort of moral hazard to happen – even a small reduction might influence at least some people on the margin,” said Charles Courtemanche, a report author and professor of economics at Georgia State University.
So a drop in costs, even if it’s not total coverage, can lead a person to change his or her behavior.
As Natural News reported recently, the effort to repeal Obamacare isn’t completely dead after all. It seems there may be a plan to get the law off the books sometime this summer as a means of energizing the Republican base and getting them excited about going to the polls in November.
Let’s hope so. This law is doing far more harm than good and it’s time it went away.
See more healthcare news at HealthCoverage.news.
J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for NaturalNews.com and NewsTarget.com, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.