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

or other serious conditions, such as heart attack or stroke. Uninsured men and women with cancer, heart disease, serious injury, stroke, respiratory failure, pulmonary illness, hip fracture, and seizures are also more likely to suffer poorer outcomes, greater limitations in quality of life, and premature death. New evidence demonstrates that obtaining coverage lessens or reverses many of these harmful effects.

Based on the available evidence, the committee concluded that when a community has a high rate of uninsurance, the financial impact on health care providers may be large enough to affect the availability, quality, and cost of local services for everyone, even people who have insurance. For example, survey data show that privately insured, working-age adults in areas with higher uninsurance rates are less likely to report having a place to go for care when sick, getting a checkup or routine preventive care, and seeing a specialist when needed. They are also less likely to be satisfied with their choice of physicians or to trust their doctors' decisions.

This report follows a series of six reports the IOM issued between 2001 and 2004 that evaluated how children, adults, families, and communities are affected by lack of health insurance. The series established principles for expanding coverage and culminated with a call for the president and Congress to act by 2010 to achieve coverage for all Americans. The current report reiterates the call for efforts to ensure everyone has access to effective health care services, a need that has not been met through reliance on safety-net services. The committee underscored the urgent need to begin now, given that coverage nationwide continues to decrease as more people lose their jobs and employer-based plans.


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Contact: Christine Stencel
news@nas.edu
202-334-2138
National Academy of Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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