Every man is a piece of the continent

The well-known association between low mortality and high income has a partial but interesting exception: overdose rates have actually increased more since 2010 in high income counties than in low income counties:

odvsincome

This is also true of the relationship between low mortality and high elementary school student achievement- overdoses increased more in places with high achieving schools:

odvsstudent

This is essentially entirely due to the “Obamacare Effect”– because higher income states with higher achieving schools were more likely to implement the Medicaid expansion, they also experienced more of its impact on overdose rates. If we adjust for a dummy variable for being in a Medicaid expansion state, the relationship between income and overdoses is unchanged:

odvsincomeadjusted

And the same with the relationship between overdoses and student achievement:

odvsstudentadjusted

Presuming malice in the unforeseen consequences of public policy is almost always a bad bet; even the relatively well-advantaged are rarely shielded from the costs of laws gone wrong.

 

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