||March 2, 2010
Dave Lemmon, Director of Communications
Bob Meissner, Deputy Director of Communications
Bryan Fisher, Press Secretary
Failure to Adopt Health Reform Will Lead to 7,500 Premature Deaths in Pennsylvania in the Next Decade
Pennsylvania Ranks Eleventh Nationally in Number of Premature Deaths that Would Occur Due to Lack of Health Coverage
Washington, D.C.—The failure to enact health reform this year will lead to approximately 7,500 premature deaths of people between 25 and 64 years old in Pennsylvania in the next decade according to a report released today by the consumer health group Families USA.
At the national level, the report, “Lives on the Line: The Deadly Consequences of Delaying Health Reform,” warns that the number of deaths would grow from 68 per day in 2010 to 84 per day in 2019.
Ron Pollack, Executive Director of Families USA, said the report quantifies these needless deaths as the most tragic and heartbreaking consequence of going without health insurance. While thousands of families across our nation directly feel the pain of this loss, the ongoing tragedy is too often invisible to the general public.
“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,” Pollack 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.”
The Families USA report applies the methodology developed in the groundbreaking report by the prestigious Institute of Medicine (IOM) to estimate national and state-level deaths due to lack of health coverage. The IOM found that approximately 18,000 non-elderly adults died in the year 2000 due a lack of health coverage. The Urban Institute updated this number and found that at least 22,000 non-elderly adults died prematurely due to a lack of health coverage in the year 2006.
The Families USA report states that:
In the 15 years since health reform was last debated (1995-2009), more than 290,000 American adults (25-64 years old) died prematurely due to a lack of health coverage.
The following 12 states experienced the largest number of premature deaths due to a lack of coverage over the 15-year period 1995-2009: California (38,400), Texas (32,200), Florida (24,400), New York (18,800), Georgia (10,900), Illinois (10,800), North Carolina (9,600), Ohio (9,500), Pennsylvania (8,700), Louisiana (8,200), New Jersey (7,800), and Michigan (7,500).
If Congress fails to pass health reform, the number of Americans who will lose their lives will continue to grow. In the next 10 years (2010-2019), more than 275,000 adults across the nation will die prematurely due to a lack of health coverage.
The following 12 states are projected to have the largest number of premature deaths due to a lack of coverage over the next 10 years: California (34,600), Texas (31,700), Florida (25,400), New York (13,900), Georgia (11,500), North Carolina (9,600), Illinois (9,400), Ohio (8,900), Louisiana (7,700), Michigan (7,600), Pennsylvania (7,500), and Tennessee (7,500).
Every day in 2010, approximately 68 non-elderly adult Americans across the nation will die prematurely due to lack of health coverage. If health reform fails, that number will grow to 84 Americans dying every day by 2019.
The link between a lack of health coverage and premature death occurs for several reasons:
The uninsured are less likely to have a usual source of care outside the emergency room;
The uninsured often go without screenings and preventive care; and
The uninsured often delay or forgo needed medical care.
“Failure to pass health care reform—in effect, doing nothing to make health coverage and care affordable—results in a huge and terrible cost,” Pollack said. “We can measure that cost in many important terms, like escalating health care costs and unaffordable increases in premiums, but we should recognize the ultimate, inexcusable consequence—lost lives.
“The grim reality is that the failure of Congress to pass health reform has deadly consequences. If Congress doesn’t move health reform across the finish line, we may continue to pay in tragic, unnecessary deaths for years to come,” he said.
Families USA is the national organization for health care consumers. It is nonprofit and nonpartisan and advocates for high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans.
1201 New York Avenue NW, Suite 1100 · Washington, DC 20005
202-628-3030 · Email: firstname.lastname@example.org · www.familiesusa.org