Lack of Health Insurance Increases the Risk of Dying

On June 26, 2017, the Congressional Budget Office released its report on the Senate Better Care Reconciliation Act and found that if it is implemented as written, there would be an additional 22 million people without health insurance in the United States in 2026. This would be in addition to the almost 30 million people who are currently without health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

On the same day, an analysis released in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that not having health insurance increases the risk of death in adults by 3 to 29 percent. Authors of the study estimate that the Better Care Reconciliation Act would create an additional 29,000 deaths each year among the uninsured. This would be on top of the 29,000 excess deaths each year among those who are left without health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

Leaving people without access to care in the wealthiest nation in the world, which is already spending twice as much per person each year on health care as most other industrialized nations that provide universal coverage, doesn’t make sense.
The United States could provide universal comprehensive heath coverage if it restructured the healthcare system to be more cost effective through the streamlined administration of single payer financing and creating a system that can negotiate for fair prices for services and pharmaceuticals.
This has been done by other nations, and was done in the U.S. for seniors in 1965 before there were computers to assist the process.

The first step that the United States can take toward a healthcare system that will save money, improve health outcomes and reduce excess preventable deaths is National Improved Medicare for All. Half measures such as adding a public insurance to the heavily bureaucratic and complex current system or offering the opportunity to purchase Medicare for those under 65 years of age will fail to solve our healthcare crisis, and will, in fact, delay the solution to our healthcare crisis as embodied in HR 676: The Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act.

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