The failure to enact health care reform this year will lead in the next decade countless premature deaths of people 25 to 64 years of age. Families USA released a report, “Lives on the Line: The Deadly Cost of Delaying Health Reform” report and it shows the number of deaths would grow from 68 per day in 2010 to 84 per day in 2019.
Executive Director Ron Pollack says the report broke down the statistics. In a 15 year period ending in 2009, there were thousands of needless deaths.
Statistics show approximately 295,000 people die due to lack of health coverage between the ages of 25 and 64. Broken down, in Iowa, 1,600 people died to lack of health coverage. In Nebraska, there will be approximately 1,000, North Dakota, 400 and South Dakota, 500.
Pollack says they also have estimate statistics for the next ten years, 2010 through 2019. In Iowa, nearly 1,500 people will die in the next decade due to lack of health care insurance. That amounts to three people each week over the next ten years. In Nebraska, 900 are expected to die. That is approximately one person every four days. In North Dakota, the estimate is 400 people. That is almost one person every week. In South Dakota, the estimate is 300 people. That equals about one every two weeks.
Pollack says these numbers are estimates and too high. He says many of these people live without insurance or are under-insured. They are less likely to be screened for possible illness and delay care even though they may be in pain.
Dr. Merlin Friesen is from Beatrice, Nebraska and agrees that health care reform is an absolute must. He has seen time and time again sick individuals who are in need of specialized treatment denied that care because they do not have health care coverage. He has seen people who are ill scrape together money or borrow it from family members to see specialists who agree they do have a medical condition but will not be treated until they are covered by health care.
Dr. Friesen works in the emergency room and he says there is a common notion that uninsured people are responsible for busy emergency rooms. He says that is a false statement because those without insurance do not seek care unless it is an absolutely necessary. There has been talk of medical rationing within the government program. He says people are already doing that now.
The report goes on to say if health reform fails, the number of people dying will grow to 84 Americans every day by 2019. Families USA states that if Congress fails to pass health reform, we may continue to pay in tragic, unnecessary deaths for years to come.