Study Blames Deaths on Lack of Insurance
May 22, 2002
Adult Americans are dying because they aren't covered by health insurance, lack preventive services or do not receive a timely diagnosis and appropriate care -- 18,314 adults each year, to be exact -- according to a report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), a nonprofit organization that advises Congress on health issues.
The report looked at the health care received by uninsured adults -- whether uninsured by choice (as is the case with many young and health adults) or due to lack of the availability of affordable insurance.
Thirty million working-age Americans, one in seven, lack employer-provided insurance and don't qualify for government medical care programs.
- About 10 million children lack insurance; elderly Americans are covered by Medicare.
- The estimated additional deaths among the uninsured include about 1,400 people with high blood pressure, 400 to 600 with breast cancer, and 1,500 diagnosed with HIV.
- Uninsured trauma victims are less likely to be admitted to a hospital, receive the full range of needed services, and are 37 percent more likely to die of their injuries.
Uninsured people with colon or breast cancer face a 50 percent higher mortality risk, the report states.
Source: Steve Sternberg, "Study Blames 18,000 Deaths in USA on Lack of Insurance," USA Today, May 22, 2002; Institute of Medicine, "Care Without Coverage: Too Little, Too Late" (Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 2002).
For text of IOM report
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