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Healthcare and Public Policy

45,000 U.S. Deaths Each Year Due to Lack of Insurance

9 years, 7 months ago

1622  0
Posted on Sep 25, 2009, 6 a.m.

Americans without health insurance are 40% more likely to die than those who have private insurance.

With 46 million Americans lacking health insurance, a study by Andrew P. Wilper, from University of Washington School of Medicine (USA), and colleagues identified the mortality risk of the situation.  The team analyzed data collected on 9,000 American adults under the age of 64 who were enrolled in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III).  Excluding those on Medicare or Medicaid and after adjusting for factors such as obesity, exercise habits, alcohol use, and smoking status, the researchers determined those without insurance were 40% more likely to die than those with a private insurance plan.  Among the other factors that increased the risk of death were: clinically-verified poor health, smoking, being a former smoker, and being a male.  The team concludes that: "Uninsurance is associated with mortality. The strength of that association appears similar to that from a study that evaluated data from the mid-1980s, despite changes in medical therapeutics and the demography of the uninsured since that time."

Wilper AP, Woolhandler S, Lasser KE, McCormick D, Bor DH, Himmelstein DU.  "Health Insurance and Mortality in US Adults."  Am J Public Health. 2009 Sep 17. [Epub ahead of print]

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