BY FROSTY TROY
More than 600,000 Oklahomans who are without health insurance are twice cursed – no insurance and more likely to die because of it.
The Archives of Surgery reveals that insurance represents more than just the ability to pay a bill. The study, led by Johns Hopkins trauma surgeon Adil Haider, proves that insurance represents the difference between life and death.
Drawing on the National Trauma Data Bank, which collects information from approximately 700 U.S. trauma centers and hospital emergency departments, Haider and his colleagues analyzed almost 430,000 moderate to severe cases of traumatic injury [from auto accidents, gunshots and other causes] treated between 2001 and 2005.
Controlling for age, gender, type and severity of injury, they found that, overall, uninsured patients were 50% more likely to die from their injuries than insured patients.
Among white patients, the mortality rate for those with insurance was 4.2%, compared with 7.9% for the uninsured.
The numbers for minorities were worse. Uninsured African-Americans died at more than double the rate of the insured, 11.4% to 4.9%. While 6.3% of insured Hispanic patients died after traumatic injury, the rate for uninsured Hispanics was 11.3%.
The study also uncovered dramatic differences in survival rates for patients of different races and insurance status.
When compared with an insured white patient, black patients with equivalent injuries but without insurance had a 78% higher risk of dying; for uninsured Hispanics, the risk was 130% higher.
Draw your own conclusions. Fate or inadequate treatment?