Families USA, a non-profit consumer health-care advocacy group, works hard on health-care issues in Congress. The group, which has been a strong advocate for universal healthcare and other major reforms, recently released the results of a study of healthcare issues. Some of the findings from the study, “Dying for Coverage,” are:
There is currently a national crisis over the number of people with no health insurance. Those uninsured persons number about 47 million at present. This is a national crisis that affects all states. The report used national data from the Institute of Medicine and The Urban Institute to compile the state-by-state results. Ron Pollack, executive director of the Families USA, observed:
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. A lack of health coverage is a matter of life and death for many people.
While the study didn’t rank states it did make a report on the situation in the individual states. The study found that nearly 3,400 working adults died in Alabama between 2000 and 2006 because of their uninsured status. It also found that residents were sicker and died sooner than their insured counterparts. The group’s study only focused on people dying, but there are a host of other medical problems short of death that can crop up. A person’s health can be “significantly impaired as a result of not getting timely care,” according to Pollack.
Ron Gilbert, policy director for Alabama Arise, believes studies like this one are important because they bring a more local and personal perspective to a broad, national crisis. Ron says ARISE, the Montgomery-based advocacy group for the poor, supports raising the state’s poverty threshold. He says proposals like Gov. Bob Riley’s that would give tax incentives to small businesses to provide health care to employees are good ones. It will be interesting to see if Gov. Riley and the Legislative leadership will do anything with the information supplied by the report.
Source: Associated Press
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