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April 24, 2008

Health insurance a matter of life and death: study

Whether or not a person has health insurance can mean life or death, according to “Dying for Coverage” a recent Families USA report for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The report revealed the number of Americans expected to die in each state, each week because they don’t have health care coverage.

Families USA is a national non-profit that advocates for affordable, high quality health care.

Using data from a 2002 groundbreaking national federal study, Dying for Coverage demonstrated direct links between a lack of health coverage and deaths from health-related causes. It found more than 7 working-age Texans die each day due to a lack of health insurance. “Our report highlights how our inadequate system of health coverage condemns a great number of people to an early death, simply because they don’t have the same access to health care as their insured neighbors,” said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA.

“Health insurance really matters in how people make their health care decisions,” he continued “We know that people without insurance often forgo checkups, screenings and other preventive care.” The study was released April 8.

For Khalilah Ali, a Dallas based family nurse practitioner, the findings are no surprise. Her Supreme Wisdom Family Health Clinic specializes in serving the medically underserved. “People in Dallas that don’t have health insurance are usually referred to Parkland Hospital, the place where President John F. Kennedy died. They have very long waits and I believe receive substandard care. Health insurance makes the difference,” she said.

Mrs. Ali drives around Dallas making house calls like country doctors of days gone by. “There is an epidemic of high blood pressure and diabetes in the Black community. For many people even when they have medicine, they save it so they don’t run out. That can be deadly because their blood pressure is always high.

“Even the seniors who have Medicare which only pays 80 percent, many still can’t afford to buy their prescriptions. So they take half of their medicine, or cut the pills in half, or only take it when they have symptoms of their illness,” she said.

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Posted by healthinsurance at April 24, 2008 02:43 PM