When someone tells you that our health care system doesn't need fixed or that everything is just fine and dandy, make sure you run this statistic by them...
Going without health insurance can delay when people obtain primary and preventative care, potentially resulting in poorer health. Even more gravely, a lack of private health insurance brings an increased risk of death; uninsurance is to blame for some 44,789 adult deaths across the U.S. every year, according to a new study published online today in the American Journal of Public Health.
The findings show that uninsured Americans—between the ages of 17 and 64—have a 40 percent higher risk of death than those who have private insurance. (Those enrolled in government insurance programs, such as Medicaid and Department of Veterans Affairs insurance, were excluded from the study.) About 46.3 million Americans didn't have health insurance as of 2008, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and the number is estimated to be higher now since the recession has forced many off of employer health plans.
The authors analyzed information from surveys and health examinations of more than 9,000 people that was collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) between 1986 and 2000 and checked against death records. Even after controlling for age, gender, race, income, education, employment, smoking, alcohol use, assessed health and BMI, the researchers found "lack of health insurance significantly increased the risk of mortality," they wrote in the paper.
Some folks, particularly those who have health insurance, are perfectly content to sit and do nothing as their fellow Americans struggle to pay their health care bills or literally die because they can't afford the care they need. After all, these fortunate souls "have theirs" and it's up to less fortunate to somehow "get theirs."
Visit Florida Speaks and arm yourself with the facts so that you can articulate the need for health care reform.
It's something that America, all of America, needs now.