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Insurance Is a Life-and-Death Issue

New report shows how many people are likely to die in NC due to lack of medical coverage

According to a report released April 4 by Families USA, the national organiza-

tion for healthcare consumers, nearly three people die each day in North Carolina because they don’t have health insurance. Moreover, the state’s recent growth in the number of uninsured people

  • the fifth-fastest in the nation – suggests

this could increase.

The Families USA report, the first- ever state-specific report of this type, is based on a groundbreaking national study by the Institute of Medicine, which in 2002 forged the direct link between a lack of health coverage and deaths from health-related causes.

“Our report highlights how our inade- quate system of health coverage con- demns a great number of North Carolinians to an early death, simply because they don’t have the same access to healthcare as their insured neighbors,” said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA. “The conclusions are sadly clear – a lack of health coverage is a mat- ter of life and death for many North Carolinians.”

“Health insurance really matters in how people make their healthcare deci- sions,” Pollack said. “We know that peo- ple without insurance often forgo check- ups, screenings and other preventive care.”

Among the consequences, the study found, people without insurance:

  • Have more trouble than insured peo-

ple in getting primary and preventive medical care.

  • Are less likely than insured people to

be able to afford prescriptions they may need to keep themselves healthy.

  • Are more likely than insured people

not to have illnesses such as cancer dis- covered until they are in advanced, less treatable stages.

Cover the Uninsured Week April 27 - May 3

47 million Americans are living with- out health insurance and forced to gamble every day that they won't get sick or injured.That's a risk no one should have to take. Uninsured Americans live sicker and die younger than those with health insurance. Just one serious illness or injury can wipe out an uninsured family's bank account. And the problem is growing worse. Each year, more and more hard-working families join the ranks of the uninsured.

The time for change is now. Our nation's leaders must work together to ind bi-partisan solutions that will work for America. Join hundreds of thousands of people during Cover the Uninsured Week 2008 (April 27-May 3) to show your support to cover America's uninsured.

Visit www.covertheuninsured.org

The Institute of Medicine found that uninsured adults are 25% more likely to die prematurely than adults with private health insurance.

Another recent academic study found that uninsured adults between the ages of 55 and 64 are even more likely to die pre- maturely. For this group, a lack of health insurance is the third leading cause of death, following heart disease and cancer.

A large number of people in Buncombe Count , 22 percent, are unin- sured. People without insurance who can- not afford healthcare may be treated by Mission, as well as Project Access and the Asheville-Buncombe Community Christian Ministry Medical Clinic. Mission also provides a great deal of chari- ty care through our Children’s Dental Program, the Emma Family Resource Center and The Care Van. In 2007, 9.2 percent of Mission’s net revenue went to community benefit. That includes care for the uninsured, outreach to community support programs like the ABCCM clinic, and uncompensated care. It also includes the cost to operate programs like trauma and pediatrics that don’t generate enough revenue to cover their costs.

Hospitals nationwide and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will be bring- ing national attention to the problem dur- ing Cover the Uninsured Week April 27 - May 3 (see inset). Learn what you can do on both a local and national level to reduce this growing crisis.

The next Mission Hospital American Red Cross Blood Drive is on Friday,April 25, 7 a.m. - 4 p.m. Kate B. Reynolds Classrooms, Latta Parking Lot

For an appointment, call One Call Scheduling at 213-2222, option 2 Appointments will be taken before walk-ins.

Thanks, Mission staffers, for giving back to our community by giving the Gift of Life!

4 • Scope • April 18, 2008

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