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Health insurance essential for health and well-being
Date:2/24/2009

. The nation must act now to solve the uninsurance problem."

The report responds to key questions being raised in the national debate about health care reform, including whether having insurance is essential for gaining access to necessary services given the availability of charity and free emergency care, and whether lack of coverage has wider ripple effects on whole communities. Written by a committee of experts in medical care, emergency medicine, health policy, business, economics, and health research, the report provides an independent assessment of published studies and surveys as well as newly commissioned research on the impacts of lack of coverage.

A significant amount of new evidence about the health consequences for individuals -- particularly from comparisons of participants' health before and after they enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid, and the State Children's Health Insurance Program -- has emerged since the IOM last studied the consequences of uninsurance in 2004. In addition, new research suggests that that high rates of uninsurance in communities can have spillover effects on the insured.

With health insurance, children are more likely to gain access to a regular source of care, immunizations and checkups, needed medications, asthma treatment, and basic dental services. Serious childhood health problems are more likely to be identified early, and those with special needs are more likely to have access to specialists. Insured children experience fewer hospitalizations and improved asthma outcomes, and they miss fewer days of school.

Adults without health insurance are much less likely to receive clinical preventive services that can reduce unnecessary illness and premature death. Chronically ill, uninsured adults delay or forgo checkups and therapies, including medications. They are more likely to be diagnosed with later-stage cancers that could have been detected earlier, and to die when hospitalized for trauma
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Contact: Christine Stencel
news@nas.edu
202-334-2138
National Academy of Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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