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Author Topic: Uninsured ER patients twice as likely to die  (Read 666 times)
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JohnBrowdie
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« on: November 16, 2009, 05:05:17 pm »

there are a hundred explanations for the increased mortality rate for uninsureds.  the most likely is that the uninsureds are a very small sample size in the overall pool ER patients, and small sample sizes very frequently produce very misleading results.  perhaps uninsured people participate in other high risk behaviors other than just being uninsured, and are thus less healthy in general.  and we already know that unhealthy people have a more difficult time getting health insurance in the first place, so that could certainly explain part of the difference.  toss into the mix the unknown factor contributed by illegal aliens, and you are probably getting close to the discrepancy.

but none of those reasons have anything to do with letting uninsured people die, and that was the tendentious point of the study.

and we're talking about the difference between 3.3% and 5.7%.   it doesn't take a very large increase in a small number to double it in terms of a percentage.

Quote
Uninsured ER patients twice as likely to die
New study highlights disparity of care for those who don't have coverage

CHICAGO - Uninsured patients with traumatic injuries, such as car crashes, falls and gunshot wounds, were almost twice as likely to die in the hospital as similarly injured patients with health insurance, according to a troubling new study.

The findings by Harvard University researchers surprised doctors and health experts who have believed emergency room care was equitable.

"This is another drop in a sea of evidence that the uninsured fare much worse in their health in the United States," said senior author Dr. Atul Gawande, a Harvard surgeon and medical journalist.
Story continues below ↓advertisement | your ad here

The study, appearing in the November issue of Archives of Surgery, comes as Congress is debating the expansion of health insurance coverage to millions more Americans. It could add fodder to that debate.

The researchers couldn't pin down the reasons behind the differences they found. The uninsured might experience more delays being transferred from hospital to hospital. Or they might get different care. Or they could have more trouble communicating with doctors.

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