Report Estimates Eight Deaths Per Day From Lack of Insurance
At least eight Californians die each day because they are uninsured, according to a report released on Thursday by Families USA, a national health care advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C., the San Jose Mercury News reports (Sevrens Lyons, San Jose Mercury News, 4/4).
The report estimates that 19,900 Californians between ages 25 and 64 died because of a lack of health insurance between 2000 and 2006 (Families USA release, 4/3). The report estimated that 3,100 adult Californians died in 2006 because they were uninsured and either could not pay for the necessary care or received treatment too late.
The Mercury News reports that the report's findings "come as little surprise to many health experts," citing statistics on the uninsured and similar findings from other research.
Coming months after the rejection of health care reform legislation in California, the release of the report struck a chord with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R).
Sabrina Lockhart, a spokesperson for the governor, said, "This underscores exactly why the governor is committed to achieving comprehensive health care reform." She said Schwarzenegger is continuing to meet with business groups, insurers and providers to discuss the matter (San Jose Mercury News, 4/4).
Thursday's report from Families USA "should prompt Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Legislature to revive health care reform as a goal," a Mercury News editorial states.
Beyond the annual deaths from being uninsured, providing medical care to the uninsured in public hospitals and hospital emergency departments translates to "a hidden tax of more than $1,000 a year per Californian," according to the editorial.
"The place to start is to insure every child in California," the editorial states, adding that "even incremental improvements could significantly reduce the number of needless deaths as well as the costs to taxpayers" (San Jose Mercury News, 4/4).
Capital Public Radio's "KXJZ News" on Friday reported on the study. The segment includes comments from Families USA Executive Director Ron Pollack (Weiss, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 4/4).
KPBS' "KPBS News" on Thursday also reported on the study, including comments from Pollack (Goldberg, "KPBS News," KPBS, 4/3).