Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Universal Health Insurance Might Not Save Lives

Date:
April 27, 2009
Source:
Center for Advancing Health
Summary:
A new analysis suggests that universal health insurance might not save many adult lives -- or any -- if the United States actually puts it into place.

A new analysis suggests that universal health insurance might not save many adult lives — or any — if the United States actually puts it into place.

A previous estimate by the influential Institute of Medicine is too optimistic, said Richard Kronick, a former health care adviser to President Clinton who crunches numbers in a study appearing online in the journal Health Services Research.

In contrast to the Institute’s estimate that universal coverage would save 18,000 adult lives per year, Kronick thinks the number is substantially smaller and possibly around zero.

“It’s quite counterintuitive and it’s not a message that most people, including myself, want to hear,” said Kronick, a professor of family and preventive medicine at the University of California at San Diego. However, “the evidence we have concerning the relationship between lack of insurance and mortality is not very good, and a reasonable reading of that evidence is that the number of deaths in the United States probably wouldn’t change a lot if everybody gets health insurance.”

In 2002, the Institute of Medicine, which advises politicians and the public, estimated that uninsured people are 25 percent more likely to die than the insured. The Institute estimated that 18,000 adults in the United States would survive each year instead of dying if they had insurance. An updated 2006 estimate using the same approach boosted the number to 22,000.

In his analysis, Kronick examined a national study that tracked 643,001 people who responded to health surveys from 1986 to 2000, with researchers following them through 2002.

After adjusting figures to account for factors such as income and “health status,” Kronick found that having insurance made little or no difference to the overall mortality rate for people ages 18 to 64.

He estimates that no more than 9,000 people die each year who would otherwise survive if they had health insurance.

Willard Manning, who worked on the 2002 Institute of Medicine report, said different studies can result in different conclusions because there are so many ways to look at the numbers.

Kronick’s study and the 2002 report, for example, take different approaches to accounting for high-risk patients who get insurance because they’re sick, said Manning, a professor of health studies at the University of Chicago. Overall, however, Manning still believes that more insurance will lead to fewer deaths.

“To me, that's going to have some consequence for mortality,” he said, because the sick who can’t afford care will cut back on seeing doctors.

Christine Stencel, spokesperson for the Institute of Medicine, said the authors of the 2002 report carefully considered research when they made their estimate.

There is one “inarguable conclusion,” she said. “Lack of coverage is a health hazard. Lack of insurance raises people’s risk of illness, complications and, yes, premature death…The point is that it is no longer possible, in the face of all the evidence, to say that lack of health insurance does not negatively impact Americans’ health, lives, and well-being. It clearly does.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Center for Advancing Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Center for Advancing Health. "Universal Health Insurance Might Not Save Lives." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 April 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090423105647.htm>.
Center for Advancing Health. (2009, April 27). Universal Health Insurance Might Not Save Lives. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090423105647.htm
Center for Advancing Health. "Universal Health Insurance Might Not Save Lives." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090423105647.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Costs Keep Mounting

Ebola Costs Keep Mounting

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 23, 2014) The WHO has warned up to 20,000 people could be infected with Ebola over the next few weeks. As Sonia Legg reports, the implications for the West African countries suffering from the disease are huge. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Overcrowding Has Public Schools Going Vertical

Overcrowding Has Public Schools Going Vertical

AP (Sep. 23, 2014) Pricey real estate and overcrowding have forced urban and suburban school districts to get creative. In Atlanta and outside Washington, that means converting high rise commercial buildings into vertical learning environments. (Sept. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) Liberia's finance minister is urging the international community to quickly follow through on pledges of cash to battle Ebola. Bodies are piling up in the capital Monrovia as the nation awaits more help. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hundreds of Thousands Hit NYC Streets to Protest Climate Change

Hundreds of Thousands Hit NYC Streets to Protest Climate Change

AFP (Sep. 22, 2014) Celebrities, political leaders and the masses rallied in New York and across the globe demanding urgent action on climate change, with organizers saying 600,000 people hit the streets. Duration: 01:19 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins