Importance of Health Care Revisited
We've explored the importance of health care time and again here at the InsWeb Blog, but last week's article in The New York Times reminds us just how important this issue is. According to the article, if the current system remains unchanged more than 275,000 adult Americans will die over the next decade due to a lack of health insurance.
The Times article looked at a recent study by Families USA, a non-profit, non-partisan health care advocacy group.
Research has shown a correlation between a lack of health insurance and increased risk of death. Those without health insurance are more likely to skip routine physicals and other preventive care, which means their medical issues advance until they are more difficult--and expensive--to treat. The uninsured are also more likely to forego prescription drugs and routine surgeries.
Other findings from the study include:
68 adult Americans under 65 die each day because they are uninsured. With the current system in place, that number will climb to 89 by 2019
Mortality rates for the uninsured are 25 to 40 percent higher than for those with coverage
Between 1995 and 2009, lack of coverage was the catalyst for almost 300,000 premature deaths
The article also stated an important fact: thousands of Americans, perhaps millions, experience a lower quality of life and poorer overall health because they lack of coverage. Chronic fatigue, underactive thyroid, frequent sinus infections, severe arthritis, a fractured elbow that was never treated--these conditions won't always result in death, but without treatment, they can make for an agonizing life.