In this case, the answer is yes:
“[Dr. David] Dupree said she sought medical help on June 4, just days after her 65th birthday, when she would qualify for Medicare, the U.S. healthcare program for seniors.
‘The reason she didn’t go earlier was because she had no insurance,’ he said.
By now, she weighed more than 170 pounds, her legs were swollen with trapped blood, she was badly dehydrated, and, scans showed, the tumour – a malignant sarcoma – was crushing her inferior vena cava, one of the main veins returning blood to the heart, and putting her life in danger.”
The reader may be thinking, ‘why did she wait so long?’ Many doctors have a similar logic.
“Dupree said he would advise uninsured patients to see a doctor immediately if they knew they were unwell no matter how near their 65th birthday might be. He said the hospital would have operated on Evelyn regardless of her insurance status, but added he did not know whether doing so would have cost her more money.”
This example shows that discontinuities in health insurance coverage can cause patients to delay care with sometimes disastrous consequences. One question is why the patient did not have health insurance? Did she fail to sign up for Medicaid? Did she choose to not have health insurance due to the expense? Ex ante, would an individual mandate have compelled her to buy insurance? Ex ante, would an individual mandate with a health insurance voucher have compelled her to purchase insurance? If so, how much would the voucher need to be worth?
Health Reform aims to reduce the number of cases where discontinuities in health insurance reduces access to needed care. Would an individual mandate and health insurance exchange increased the probability that the patient i) would seek treatment earlier and ii) could afford the treatment?