From The Vaults

Two Ohioans Die Every Day Because of a Lack of Health Insurance

Each day in 2006, roughly two Ohioans between the ages of 25 and 64 died because they didn’t have health insurance, a report released Tuesday said.

Between 2000 and 2006, more than 5,100 working-age adults in Ohio died because they lacked health insurance, according to the report issued by the Families USA. The national health care advocacy group is releasing similar studies for states around the country.

The country’s mortality rate due to a lack of health insurance was about twice as high as the number of deaths caused by homicide for this age group in 2006, Families USA Executive Director Ron Pollack told reporters during a conference call.

That’s because people without insurance often forgo checkups, screenings, and other preventive care, he explained. Therefore, uninsured adults are more likely to be diagnosed with chronic diseases in an advanced stage, which significantly reduces their chances of survival.

“Our report highlights how our inadequate system of health coverage condemns a great number of people in Ohio to an early death, simply because they don’t have the same access to health care as their insured neighbors,” Mr. Pollack said. “Our conclusions are sadly clear: a lack of health coverage is a matter of life and death for many people in the state of Ohio.”

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Cleveland) said the uninsured are three times more likely to delay seeking medical care than people with insurance and are one-fourth as likely to have a regular source of health care. They also pay heftier medical bills when they do seek care because they are excluded from the lower prices that insurers negotiate with providers.

“So they get it every way: they’re less likely to have a usual source of care; they’re more likely to go without screenings for preventive care; they’re more likely to delay going to the doctor; and when they do go, they pay more than everybody else,” he said.

U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Chardon) said the study underscores the need for Democrats’ national health care reform proposals.

“It is incomprehensible that in the most advanced nation in the world, so many Americans are priced out of a healthy life, and in some cases are being priced out of life at all,” she said.

Col Owens, representing Ohio Consumers for Health Coverage, said the report disproves a common misconception.

“It is clear that too many Ohioans believe that because hospital emergency rooms must accept everyone, that people in Ohio don’t die for lack of health care coverage,” he said. “The problem doesn’t start in the emergency room. It starts invisibly and silently.”

In response to a reporter’s question, Sen. Brown said either of the Democratic presidential candidates’ plans would begin the process of moving the country toward universal coverage.

“It’s not a comparison between Barack’s plan or Hillary’s plan,” he said. “It’s a comparison between health care reform… versus John McCain’s – President Bush’s third term of health care policy where the uninsured buy their own coverage in the private market.”

Sen. Brown revisited his frequent criticism of President George Bush’s vetoes of repeated Congressional efforts to expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.

“It would have – at the cost of $7 billion a year – insured four million people across the country and slightly more than 100,000 Ohio children,” he said. “Contrast that $7 billion a year with the $3 billion a week that we are now spending on the war in Iraq and you can see where our priorities have been.”


2 comments to Two Ohioans Die Every Day Because of a Lack of Health Insurance

  • Joe C.

    All FamiliesUSA has provided are press releases. I am trying to get the actual “study” methodology to review – “based on methodology by the IOM and Urban Institute” tells me nothing.

    FamiliesUSA is famous (or infamous) for their reports of poorly done and biased “studies” that end up as exaggerated press releases meant for suckers (i.e. Media, non-critical thinkers – most of Americans) whose findings are discarded when they are reviewed after the fact. I have no reason to believe that this is any different.

  • A very large percentage of the uninsured are young people who forgo health insurance. Second it is no surprise that activists will put out press releases that may not be completely factual. Does anyone remember Mitch Mitchell’s mythical “3 million homeless.” The mainstream media accepted his assertions without any investigation. Once it became clear that Mitchell’s figures were fiction the media did not report on that or that they had been duped, I doubt they cared. They just went on to the next liberal talking point.

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