Study: 45,000 Americans die each year for lack of insurance

My question is, “Are these people dying because they don’t have insurance?” Also, here’s another question: “How many die each year who do have insurance?” Who commissioned this study? And once government gets involved in healthcare, will someone do a study to determine how many people die each year because of healthcare rationing? Anyone who knows anything about statistics and studies knows that it isn’t difficult to come up with figures that support whatever conclusion you want to come to.

From Raw Story:

Harvard researchers published Thursday in the American Journal of Public Health a study which reveals roughly 45,000 American adults die every year because they are not covered by health insurance.

Researchers specifically noted that lack of health insurance now kills more adults than kidney disease.

The American Journal of Public Health is a subscription-only service. reported:

Lead author Dr. Andrew Wilper, who worked at Harvard Medical School when the study was done and who now teaches at the University of Washington Medical School, said, “The uninsured have a higher risk of death when compared to the privately insured, even after taking into account socioeconomics, health behaviors and baseline health. We doctors have many new ways to prevent deaths from hypertension, diabetes and heart disease – but only if patients can get into our offices and afford their medications.”

The study, which analyzed data from national surveys carried out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), assessed death rates after taking education, income and many other factors including smoking, drinking and obesity into account. It estimated that lack of health insurance causes 44,789 excess deaths annually.

Previous estimates from the IOM and others had put that figure near 18,000. The methods used in the current study were similar to those employed by the IOM in 2002, which in turn were based on a pioneering 1993 study of health insurance and mortality.

During a Thursday rally, President Barack Obama promised a University of Maryland crowd, “Because you voted for change in November, we’re going to bring change.”

The United States was “on the cusp” of fulfilling the promise of easier access to higher education, which is very costly, and of changing the health care system, which Obama said was a defining issue for the current generation.

“One in three adults who don’t have health insurance live one accident away from bankruptcy,” the president said, his speech regularly interrupted by deafening cheers and at one point by a lone heckler, who shouted “child killer” as Obama began his speech.

The president never broke his stride, and the heckler was quickly ushered out of the stadium by security guards.

The rally was the latest sign that Obama is now hitting back hard at opponents to his proposed reforms who hogged the media spotlight last month by disrupting town hall meetings held to explain and promote the president’s vision for change.

It was also a bid by Obama’s behind-the-scenes team, whose near flawless handling of his campaign took him from the bottom rungs of the US Senate to the White House, to boost the president’s popularity ratings.

Obama’s poll numbers have fallen over the past few months as politicians dickered over health care and the public reacted to what it saw as excessive government spending.

“It’s time to put our shoulders to the wheel of history,” Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, acting as a warm-up man for the president, told the exuberant crowd inside the University of Maryland’s 20,000-seat basketball stadium before Obama arrived.

“We are closer than ever before to building a health care system that America can be proud of. We cannot let this opportunity slip by,” he said as the crowd whooped and cheered.


One Response

  1. Yeah this study has some problems:

    (1) The study did not confirm whether the surveyed persons’ claims regarding their insurance status was true or not. So they just took everyone at their word with regards to their insurance status.

    (2) The study assessed the individual’s status as insured or uninsured BASED ON A SINGLE POINT IN TIME!! This means that if you were uninsured for for one year out of the 13 years you were followed, and that one year coincided with your initial interview, you were considered uninsured despite being insured 92% of the time. Of course, the converse of this is true as well.

    (3) The study did not take into account how the deaths occurred. Read that sentence again. The. Study. Doesn’t. Care. How. The. Participants. Died. So if you were shot in the head by a burgler, and happened to be uninsured, the study uses your situation to prove that those who are uninsured are more likely to die. This is absurd. A person who is shot in the head died because of a reason wholly unrelated to his status as an uninsured, while a person who died of some health issue that went untreated does matter to the debate. Yet, the study doesn’t differentiate between the two situations.

    (4) In the words of the article: “researchers found that the uninsured had about a 40 percent higher risk of death.” Really? A 40% higher chance of death? OK. I’m insured right now and you know what chance I have of dying? 100%. You know what chance any random uninsured person I pull off the street has of dying? Also 100%. The findings of this study would be much more helpful if they determined the life expectancy of an uninsured person versus an insured one. Because we all die at some point.

    (4) FWIW, the study was performed by Physicians for a National Health Program, a single issue advocating organization that promotes — you guessed it! — a single payer system for all. I’m sure their results are not biased, but the way the study was designed, I have my doubts.

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