A new study out of Harvard Medical School shows that lack of health insurance causes an estimated extra 45,000 deaths a year. And thats after taking into account socioeconomics, health behaviors, and baseline health.
Previously a study from the Institute of Medicine estimated the number of deaths at 18,000 annually, but that study was based on 20 year old data. In other words, the situation is getting worse.
In other words, around 123 people die every day because they don’t have health insurance. According to the study, people without health insurance face a 40% increased risk of death. And if you are sick and without insurance, you are more than twice as likely to die as those people with insurance.
The Institute of Medicine, using older studies, estimated that one American dies every 30 minutes from lack of health insurance. Even this grim figure is an underestimate — now one dies every 12 minutes.
At that rate, more people die every month because of our terrible health insurance situation than were killed by terrorism on 9/11.
One of the co-authors of the study had this to say about the health reform bills in Congress:
Historically, every other developed nation has achieved universal health care through some form of nonprofit national health insurance. Our failure to do so means that all Americans pay higher health care costs, and 45,000 pay with their lives. Even the most liberal version of the House bill would have left 17 million uninsured, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The whittled down Senate bill will be worse — leaving tens of millions uninsured, and tens of thousands dying because of lack of care. Without the administrative savings only attainable through a Medicare-for-all, single-payer reform — real universal coverage will remain unaffordable. Politicians are protecting insurance industry profits by sacrificing American lives.