[Marxism] US - lack of insurance = 45,000 deaths per year

Dennis Brasky dmozart1756 at gmail.com
Thu Sep 17 20:53:28 MDT 2009

> NY Times - September 17, 2009, 4:14 pm Harvard Medical Study Links Lack of
> Insurance to 45,000 U.S. Deaths a Year By Reed Abelson<http://prescriptions.blogs.nytimes.com/author/reed-abelson/>
> As the White House and Congress continue debating how best to provide
> coverage to tens of millions of Americans currently without health
> insurance, a new study (PDF)
> <http://pnhp.org/excessdeaths/health-insurance-and-mortality-in-US-adults.pdf>is
> meant to offer a stark reminder of why lawmakers should continue to try.
> Researchers from Harvard Medical School say the lack of coverage can be tied
> to about 45,000 deaths a year in the United States — a toll that is greater
> than the number of people who die each year from kidney disease.
> “If you extend coverage, you can save lives,” said Dr. Steffie Woolhandler,
> a professor of medicine at Harvard who is one of the study’s authors. The
> research is being published in the December issue of the American Journal of
> Public Health and was posted online Thursday.
> The Harvard study found that people without health insurance had a 40
> percent higher risk of death than those with private health insurance — as a
> result of being unable to obtain necessary medical care. The risk appears to
> have increased since 1993, when a similar study found the risk of death was
> 25 percent greater for the uninsured.
> The increase in risk, according to the study, is likely to be a result of
> at least two factors. One is the greater difficulty the uninsured have today
> in finding care, as public hospitals have closed or cut back on services.
> The other is improvements in medical care for insured people with treatable
> chronic conditions like high blood pressure.
> “As health care for the insured gets better, the gap between the insured
> and uninsured widens,” Dr. Woolhandler said.
> The researchers also concluded that other ways of delivering care to the
> uninsured, like providing them with community health centers, are not
> adequate substitutes for health insurance. Individuals need the access to
> hospitals and specialists that comes only with adequate insurance coverage,
> Dr. Woolhander said.
> Dr. Woolhandler said the study should prompt policymakers in Washington to
> consider the impact of scaling back any effort to provide truly universal
> coverage. She expressed concern about some lawmakers’ willingness to adopt a
> plan that could expand coverage to only a portion of the nearly 50 million
> people who are without health insurance. As a proponent for a single-payer
> system — something like Medicare for all — she said she was also
> disappointed in the current proposals before Congress.
> Dr. Woolhandler, who has also conducted extensive research on
> medical-related bankruptcies, cautioned that expanding coverage would not be
> meaningful if the coverage is not generous enough. People might still not be
> able to afford care if they have to pay large deductibles or too great a
> share of their over all medical bills.
> “Health insurance can only make you healthier if you have access to care,”
> she said.
> <
> http://prescriptions.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/17/harvard-medical-study-links-lack-of-insurance-to-45000-us-deaths-a-year/
> >
> The late Brazilian bishop Dom Hélder Câmara said it well: “When I give food
> to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food,
> they call me a Communist.”

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