Just days before the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to determine the fate of the Affordable Care Act, a consumer advocacy organization released “Dying for Coverage,” a report detailing a startling number of Americans who die every year from a lack of health coverage.
Families USA announced Wednesday by teleconference that more than 26,000 Americans between the ages of 25 and 64 died prematurely in 2010 because they were uninsured. Additionally, 5,750 more people died prematurely in 2010 from absent health coverage than 2005.
“The Affordable Care Act lets us wake up from this terrible health care nightmare of premature death,” said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA. “Wiping out health reform means the nightmare will continue for all Americans.”
The report, which documented state-by-state and national data, finds that all uninsured Americans pay more for medical care, making them either delay or forego prevention and treatment. Its findings were built using the methodology of a 2002 Institute of Medicine report, “Care without Coverage: Too Little, Too Late,” which established a direct link between a lack of health coverage and premature death.
A 2009 study published in the American Journal of Public Health estimated that 45,000 U.S. deaths each year are associated with lack of health insurance.
“The Affordable Care Act was passed by Congress to address an American tragedy and an American shame,” Pollack said. “The fact remains that for the millions of Americans without health coverage, only the Affordable Care offers the promise of access to affordable coverage and to a longer and healthier life.”
A full version of the Families USA report can be read here.