Sunday, September 24, 2006


18,000 people die every year from lack of medical insurance

From a Democratic Policy Committee document: Not having health insurance has serious health consequences. The number of uninsured Americans is more than a statistic; it is a grim reality for many Americans. Extensive study has refuted the myth that the uninsured receive the health care they really need. • The Institute of Medicine (IOM), an independent panel of experts, found that the uninsured receive an inferior level of care that contributes to poor health and premature death. ...The IOM estimated that about 18,000 unnecessary deaths are attributable to lack of health insurance each year. (IOM, May 2002) • A survey by the Commonwealth Fund found that 59 percent of uninsured adults with a chronic illness, such as diabetes or asthma, did not fill a prescription or skipped their medications because they could not afford them and 35 percent went to an emergency room or stayed overnight in the hospital in the past year because of their condition (about twice the rate of people with chronic conditions who were insured for the year). The uninsured were also less likely to receive preventive care such as colon cancer screenings and mammograms. In addition, the survey found that more than half of uninsured adults reported medical debt or problems paying medical bills. (Commonwealth Fund, April 2006)
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