New York Times:
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) 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.
Nice that if you can afford it we have the best healthcare available in the world, but if you can't afford it.....well then you are shit out of luck.
And don't forget that Mitt Romney has promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act as his first order of business if he is elected president.
We are dying to have access to good health care in this country. Literally, and by the thousands.
And just to keep this in perspective, this annual number is seven times greater than the number we have lost in BOTH the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
It is a tragedy, and it is preventable. One of our candidates is doing all he can to solve this problem, and the other simply does not care.