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Health insurance coverage helps people afford housing

Homes in Ohio.
Houses in Ohio. Photo: Dustin Franz for The Washington Post via Getty Images

People near the poverty line who have access to health insurance through the Affordable Care Act are about 25% less likely to fall behind on a rent or mortgage payment than people who don't have coverage, according to a new study summarized in CityLab.

Details: The study compared people who fall into the ACA's "coverage gap," in states that haven't expanded Medicaid, against similarly situated people in expansion states (where there's no coverage gap).

  • To some extent these findings are to be expected: Money is fungible, and the more help you have covering one cost, the more likely you'll also be able to cover another cost.
  • But the effect turned out bigger than expected, one of the study's authors told CityLab.
  • And it's also an indication that people can't simply skip a visit to the doctor, even if it means putting yourself at greater risk for eviction.

Go deeper: The poor state of U.S. hospital quality