PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Medicaid is a key part of President Obama’s health care reform law, and a new study shows that it does help to make people’s lives better.

Economists at MIT and Harvard have found that signing up for Medicaid could improve your overall health and financial security, even though reimbursements to doctors are decreasing and many are opting out of the system.

(CLS staff attorney Kristen Dama. File photo)

Kristen Dama (right), an attorney at Community Legal Services of Philadelphia who helps Medicaid applicants with the complex paperwork, isn’t surprised.  She notes that Medicaid is insurance that helps low-income residents get preventive health care, which can cut down on medical emergencies.

She says Medicaid also pays for critical follow-up services.

“I think that’s one thing that Medicaid really permits, for people who have emergency situations or had health crises to really retain the follow-up care so they’re able to maintain their health and prevent further crises,” she notes.

Still, Dama admits that Medicaid isn’t perfect and doesn’t pay for everything.

Reported by Lynne Adkins, KYW Newsradio 1060