(Updated) A new national report released Thursday says 2,100 Connecticut residents died, between 1995 and 2009, due to a lack of health insurance.
In the 15-year period since health care reform was debated by Congress, more than 294,000 adults ages 25 to 64 years old have died due to the lack of health insurance, a report by Families USA found. In the next 10 years the report estimated that another 275,000 adults will die prematurely due to the lack of health insurance coverage.
“People without health insurance don’t get preventive care or screenings, and their illnesses are often diagnosed at an advanced stage when they are more difficult and more expensive to treat,” Ellen Andrews, executive director of the Connecticut Health Policy Project, said. “This timely report makes clear that doing nothing cannot be an option.”
Members of Connecticut’s Congressional delegation echoed Andrews comments.
“The findings in this report are truly shocking and underscore the urgent need for health insurance reform,“ U.S. Rep. John B. Larson said in a press release. “We cannot afford to stand idle as individuals and families in Connecticut and across our nation continue to suffer and even die because they don’t have health insurance.”
“It is simply appalling that in my own state of Connecticut, 2,100 adults have died due to lack of health insurance since the last attempt to pass health care reform legislation—and another 1,700 will die in the next 10 years if we fail to act,“ U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro said. “For far too long, the American people have waited for Congress to act, and this report makes it starkly clear: the cost of inaction is too high.”
Mickey Herbert, president and CEO of ConnectiCare, says he hasn’t studied the Families USA report, but it points out the imperative that we need to figure out how to provide accessible and affordable health care coverage for all Connecticut citizens.
“And we need to be smart about how we do that,” Herbert said. “Some “big bang” government solution is hardly the way to go. In my opinion, we need to do away with all pre-existing conditions to individual health insurance (only about 7 percent of the whole market, by the way), and implement an effective enforceable personal responsibility requirement that will get many more Connecticut citizens into an insurable pool. We can do this without jeopardizing the private insurance market that Connecticut citizens overwhelmingly do not want to discard.”
Partially in response to the report, a group of Connecticut health care advocates will hold a candlelight vigil 6 p.m. tonight at Center Church on the Green in New Haven to share their stories about health insurer’s denying or delaying treatment or coverage. The vigil is sponsored by the Health Care for America Now coalition.