Tag Archives: preventive care

Dying For Coverage

Advocacy group Families USA has put out a shocking report (PDF), “Dying For Coverage,” detailing how Californians are impacted by a lack of health insurance.  The number “47 million” that designates Americans without health insurance is too abstract and detached from meaning.  Californians are dying because of their inability to afford or acquire insurance.

• Families USA estimates that more than eight working-age Californians die each day

due to lack of health insurance (approximately 3,100 people in 2006).

• Between 2000 and 2006, the estimated number of adults between the ages of 25

and 64 in California who died because they did not have health insurance was

nearly 19,900.

•Across the United States, in 2006, twice as many people died from lack of health

insurance as died from homicide.

The factors that lead to death include: 1) a lack of preventive care and screening, 2) unnecessary delays for medical care because of affordability concerns, 3) no access to care outside an emergency room, and more.

Some of our Democratic members of Congress have commented on the report.

“This new Families USA study highlights a sad statistic that more people in our country died from lack of health insurance than from homicide between 2000-2006,” U.S. Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) said today. “In California alone, nearly 20,000 people in that time frame died because of being uninsured.”

“Our nation has more people in jail than anywhere else in the world in its effort to combat crime,” Stark said. “Yet, we allow 47 million people to go without health insurance-which translates into going without needed medical care-each year. It’s time to take action and combat the real killer in our country-the lack of universal health care.”

“It is appalling and irresponsible that more than eight working-age Californians die due to lack of health insurance each day,” U.S. Rep. Hilda L. Solis (D-CA) said today. “In California , 60 percent of the uninsured are Latinos, which means that nearly five Latinos die each day because we cannot ensure access to quality, affordable health care.”

“I am fighting in Congress to improve the health of communities of color and strongly support improving access to health care for all populations,” Solis said.

When Republicans talk about “cost control” in medical care, they want a world very much like this.  They believe that the problem with health insurance is that people have too much of it.  They would rather it be limited and used only when necessary, and they would rather Americans hold out and comparison shop when they are ill or infirm.  In other words, the conservative vision of health care aligns with the for-profit insurance company vision which directly leads to 8 dead Californians every single day.

As we pick up the pieces from the failure of health care reform from earlier this year, this powerful report shows the dire need to repair the broken system and ensure affordable care for everyone.