Estimating the Numbers of Americans Who Die from Lack of Health Insurance

An estimate for the number of Americans who die each day from lack of health insurance is found in a study from the Urban Institute

Uninsured and Dying Because of It: Updating the Institute of Medicine Analysis on the Impact of Uninsurance on Mortality.

This line of study began in 2002 by the Institute of Medicine (IOM). Their estimate then was 18,000 Americans had died because they were uninsured in the year 2000. Subsequent studies using the IOM methodology combined with Census Bureau estimates of insurance coverage concluded that 137,000 people died from 2000 through 2006 which included 22,000 in 2006.

A detailed explanation of the IOM methodology and how it is combined with Census Bureau statistics is presented on page 2 of the study mentioned above.  According to its site, the IOM was established in 1970 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences. The IOM provides "independent, objectives, evidence-based advice to policymakers, health professionals, the private sector and the public."

The IOM site is filled with information about the organization-too much to present here. But you can go through the site in great detail to make a judgment about whether or not it is trustworthy. Among the many details that impressed me were the awards the IOM has received. One was the Rhoda and Bernard Sarnat International Prize in Mental Health. I wondered about the status of the recipients of this particular award. Notice the medical schools with which the recipients are associated. 

Examine also this page of projects concerning healthcare, also this page concerning education, and this page concerning child health. Here is a complete listing of IOM projects by topic. Clearly, the IOM is not some fly-by-night organization. 

The information presented in this post explains the basic estimate I use. That estimate currently is 22,000 Americans dying from lack of health insurance per year. Divided by 365 days of the year, the number is 60 Americans per day.

To argue this estimate, you would have to debunk two organizations- The Urban Institute and the Institute of Medicine. The IOM is the crucial organization. It is their methodology upon which the 22,000 estimate is based.

One can easily argue the accuracy of the estimate as either too high or too low. If you have the data, please offer it. If you want to attack the estimate, please read the complete report and explore the additional links provided in this post first. 


Jock said...

I'm not shocked in the slightest way. I bet the number is higher. I've known a few who have passed on in just this way.

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