The Bell Policy Center just sent around a “straight talk on health care” memo claiming that not having health insurance leads to death (for the record, I’d also submit the idea that being alive leads to death. Just sayin’). It said that the Institute of Medicine “found” 18,000 US deaths due to a lack of health insurance in 2000, the Urban Institute found 22,000 deaths in 2006, and Harvard Medical School found 44,789 deaths in 2009.
Fortunately, these are not real people. As shown by Health Care Policy Center Director Linda Gorman back in 2008, the Institute of Medicine basically made up its claim of 18,000. The Urban Institute followed its lead. The Obamacare pre-existing condition pool was to have saved us from this nightmare until we could find out what was actually in the Obamacare bill in 2014. As of May 31, 2011, only 18,313 of the millions and millions of uninsured people in the U.S. had demonstrated that they felt health insurance was so important to their well being that they would sign up for cut-rate government coverage. Shocking!
In fact, there is surprisingly little evidence to support The Bell claim and, by extension, the whole rationale for spending trillions of tax dollars on Obamacare. The problems with the estimates The Bell cites were discussed on the Independence Institute’s PatientPowerNow.org blog here and summarized by NCPA President John Goodman and Linda Gorman here.
Richard Kronick, currently the Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Office of Health Policy at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, reviewed the literature for Health Services Research in August 2009 and concluded that
There would not be much change in the number of deaths in the United States as a result of universal coverage, although the difficulties in inferring causality from observational analyses temper the strength of this conclusion.