Report: Thousands of uninsured Americans die too soon

As the snow falls Thursday, Ronnie Murphy sells umbrellas for a bargain price of $3 near the Market Street subway on 15th Street. (Sarah Schu / Staff Photographer)

Nearly 300,000 Americans will die early over the next 10 years because they don’t have health insurance, according to a report by the Washington advocacy group Families USA. The group based its analysis on a 2002 Institute of Medicine report finding that lack of insurance increased by 25 percent the number of “premature” deaths among adults aged 25 to 64. A 2009 IOM report followed up on the consequences of being uninsured in America.

In its report, “Lives on the Line: The Deadly Consequences of Delaying Health Reform,” Families USA warns that the number of deaths due to lack of insurance would grow from 68 per day in 2010 to 84 per day in 2019.

Pennsylvania would see 7,500 adults die too soon, the report estimated, while New Jersey and Delaware would see 6,500 and 700 “premature” deaths, respectively.
 “When the people of this nation witness a tragic event that leads to multiple deaths, we raise our voices in indignation, and the nation rallies in response,” Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA said. “We cry out for investigations. We seek causes. We call for swift punishment for the guilty and removal of the inept. Yet, unseen, hundreds of thousands will die needlessly and prematurely over the next decade because our terribly flawed health care system excludes these ordinary Americans.”

In 2008, my colleague Michael Vitez wrote about the consequences of being uninsured for people in the Philadelphia region. Check out those stories here: