Deaths of 633 Tennesseans Blamed on Lack of Health Insurance

Six hundred thirty-three people died in Tennessee in 2010 because they did not have health insurance, according to a new study released Wednesday by health care consumer advocate Families USA.
From the Commercial Appeal:
In the five years from 2005-2010, 3,483 Tennesseans died because they lacked health insurance, the study said.
The number of uninsured Tennesseans rose from 482,353 in 2005 to 604,222 in 2011, according to the University of Tennessee Center for Business and Economic Research.
“The numbers don’t surprise me one bit,” said Dr. Scott Morris, executive director of the Church Health Center in Memphis. “It’s what we see at the Church Health Center every day.”
Without insurance, many patients can’t afford doctor visits, treatments or medications, Morris said. Oftentimes, uninsured patients will put off their treatments, which can make health problems worse and make treating them more difficult.
Across the nation, 26,100 people died in 2010 without access to health insurance, a figure higher than the 20,350 who died without coverage in 2005. From 2005-2010, a total of 134,120 died in the U.S. because they lacked health coverage, the study said.
The figures were timed for release about a week before many expect the Supreme Court to reveal its decision on the Affordable Care Act. Calling the deaths a “tragedy” and a “shame,” Families USA executive director Ron Pollack said the law is central to the health of the uninsured.

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