Report: 26,000 uninsured Americans die each year

David Morgan, Reuters, July 20, 2012 Washington  - More than 26,000 working-age adults die prematurely in the United States each year because they lack health insurance, according to a study published ahead of a landmark US Supreme Court ruling on President Barack Obama's health care reform law. The study, released on Wednesday by the consumer advocacy group Families USA, estimates that a record high of 26,100 people aged 25 to 64 died for lack of health coverage in 2010, up from 20,350 in 2005 and 18,000 in 2000. That makes for a rate of about 72 deaths per day, or three per hour. ... Report

Uninsurance Deaths

In 2010, about 26,000 of the nearly 50 million people without health insurance died due to the lack of that insurance. At best, about 26 million people will remain uninsured if the Affordable Care act is upheld by the Supreme Court. That means that we will continue to accept about 13,000 deaths per year as a consequence of our failure to enact a single payer national health program. It is one thing to accept inordinate financial waste in our system in order to cater to the private insurance industry, but it is quite another to accept so much suffering and death. The former reflects on our illogical willingness to accept social injustices in order to cater to the moneyed class, but to knowingly accept the latter reflects on the most basic moral fiber of our society. Is it that people don't understand? Or are we really that animalistic?

Addendum: This study used updated numbers from Families USA on the number of deaths that result from being uninsured. Their numbers were based on the 2002 methodology of the Institute of Medicine. However, under "Methodology," the Families USA report states, "A study published by Harvard Medical School researchers late in 2009 that used more recent data found that the lack of health insurance now raises mortality rates by 40 percent. If we had applied the latter estimate of the impact of uninsurance on mortality, rather than the 25 percent figure used by the IOM, our mortality estimates would have increased substantially." The numbers are worse than those reported earlier today. Rather than zeroing in on sterile recalculations, let's think about the real people whose lives are lost and what we need to do to prevent that in the future. The Harvard study, authored by co-founders of PNHP and their colleagues: - Don McCanne, MD, Physicians for a National Health Program

Quality Vital

According to the semi-official Institute of Medicine, up to 98,000 patients die unnecessarily in US acute-care hospitals each year. For real healthcare reform, we need to address quality and equality, not just access and affordability. - Sandy Eaton, RN