The Cost of Being Uninsured
The biggest impact on health may not come from medications, vitamins or lifestyle – it might be due to whether one has insurance or not.
That is the finding of a study publishing in the Journal of Public Health today.
Researchers found that kids without health insurance were 37.8 percent more likely to die in the hospital that kids who were insured, after factoring out race and gender.
The raw numbers found that kids who lacked health insurance were 60 percent more likely to die in the hospital, reports US News.
That translates to an estimated 17,000 U.S. children over the past two decades. Researchers from Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore say that is more than any other single factor in predicting outcomes.
“This is actually something we as a society ... can choose to do something about," said David C. Chang, the co-director of the pediatric surgery outcomes research group and study co-author from Hopkins. "It's literally with the stroke of somebody's pen, this could be changed."
Chang and colleagues from Hopkins used records from two large databases which included more than 23 million hospitalizations of young people under the age of 18.
Spanning an 18-year period through 2005, they found among the 17 million children who were hospitalized, nearly six million were uninsured. More than 38,000 died in the hospital. The uninsured children were 1.6 times more likely to die than those with insurance.
Similar findings come from the U.S. Institute of medicine that shows uninsured have a higher death rate.
The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was reauthorized by President Obama soon after taking office in January. It provides funding to states to cover uninsured children through the year 2013.
CHIP covers roughly 7 million kids in the U.S. but approximately 6.5 million children remain uninsured.
President Bush has put a band-aid on the controversial national child health insurance program, extending the present program until March 2009. #