Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Teapartiers sandbagged by health insurers | MollyRush's Blog and a calculation mortality rates for lack of insurance.

Molly Rush, Pittsburgh health insurance activist and blogger, brilliantly in her blog about how the health insurance companies were giving money to anti healthcare groups such as the US Chamber of Commerce (covertly due to the Citizens United decision by the US Supreme Court) while at the same time negotiating with the Obama administration for the most advantageous deal possible with an individual mandate requiring everyone to buy their product.

Teapartiers sandbagged by health insurers | MollyRush's Blog

Stephen Colbert gives a good review of how the debate went in the past year.

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A Federal judge in Virginia has ruled that the individual mandate is unconstitutional meaning that the US Supreme Court will have to resolve this issue. This ruling may be good news not just for those who want to kill the bill but for those who want to improve it with a public option and single payer alternatives.

In 2009 an analysis by Andrew P. Wilper MD MPH, Steffie Woolhandler, MD, MPH, Karen E. Lasser, MD, MPH, Danny McCormick, MD, MPH, David H. Bor, MD,
and David U. Himmelstein, MD at Harvard estimated that about 45,000 people die due to a lack of health insurance per year. This estimate was cited by Alan Grayson on the US House floor and raised the ire of the right who refused to believe this estimate. I cited this estimate at the height of the debate on my facebook page and many of my conservative friends also refused to believe. I feel the need to recount how they arrived at that estimate now. The whole article can be read at this link.

Health Insurance and Mortality in US Adults

Wilper et al. began with the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) to estimate mortality rates in those aged between 17 and 64. It is a representative sample (using similar methodology that was used in the exit polling for the 2010 election) of the US population where a vast array of health data was collected on on habits, weight, blood pressure, demographics such as race and poverty, etc. This data was linked to data from the National Death Index to tell the researchers if they were alive or dead at the time of the analysis. Before the data was given to the researchers any information that could identify the participants was scrubbed from the file. The data were analyzed using Cox regression survival analysis and they found that after adjusting for all other potential risk factors for mortality there was an estimated 40% elevated risk of death for those uninsured relative to those insured. Applying this 40% elevated risk to census data for the US population and the size of the uninsured population which is bigger now (50 million) than it was when this article was published (46 million) gives the 45,000 excess deaths estimate which many kill the billers dispute.

Many may still disregard these estimates just as they have in the related post on health care polling below. Anyone who doubt that there is still a crisis of access to health care in the United States should come to a free clinic and talk to those receiving care. Many of whom have not received care in years.


**Related Posts**

POLL: Dislike of healthcare law crosses party lines, 1 in 4 Dems want repeal - TheHill.com (But Doesn't Ask Why)


Senate, House, Governor Races, Making Sense of Just One Race


Ezra Klein - Column: A world with an individual mandate