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Report Blames 3,000 State Deaths a Year on Uninsurance

| June 21, 2012
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California leads the nation in the number of people who die for lack of health insurance, according to a report by Families USA.

The report focused on people between aged 25 and 64.

Of the 26,100 who died nationwide in 2010 because they didn’t have insurance 3,164 — or about 12 percent — of there people were in California, the advocacy group estimated.

Of course, more people live in California than any other state. The report doesn’t discuss the question of whether deaths here are disproportionate to the population.

But according to the US Census, the Golden State had 37,253,956 residents in 2010, out of 308,745,538 in the country, which also works out to about 12 percent.

So at least the lack of insurance isn’t killing Californians disproportionately. Still, these thousands of deaths are of concern. This raises the question of how Families USA arrived at its estimates.

The answer, explained in the report’s appendix, is a bit of algebra which the organization says it borrowed from the US Institute of Medicine (IOM). The IOM looked at the death rate of people who don’t have insurance and compared it to the death rate of people who do have insurance, then controlled for “numerous” factors (presumably poverty and illness among others).

Crunching all these numbers, the IOM determined that the absence of insurance coverage increases mortality by an average of 25 percent for adults aged 25-64. (For a full explanation and other details about the estimates, read the report and its appendix.)

Since more people are now uninsured than in the past, the number dying for lack of insurance is also increasing, the report says.

The number of deaths attributed to lack of insurance nationwide has risen steadily since 2005, when it stood at 20,350, the report says.

 

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