KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Study: Lack Of Insurance May Have Caused 17,000 Child Deaths Over 20 Years

"An estimated 17,000 children in the United States might have died unnecessarily over nearly two decades because they didn't have health insurance, according to a report from researchers at Johns Hopkins Children's Center in Baltimore," reports U.S. News and World Report. "David C. Chang, co-director of the pediatric surgery outcomes research group at Hopkins and a study co-author, said he could not think of a medical treatment that has such a dramatic impact on health outcomes as health insurance seemingly does." The study, which was published in the Journal of Public Health, looks "at the relationship between insurance status and kids' mortality to better inform the CHIP debate." The researchers found that "[u]ninsured kids were 1.6 times more likely to die than children who had insurance" (Pallarito, 10/29).

The Baltimore Sun, on the same study: "The uninsured rate for children has been rising steadily for two decades causing some lawmakers to fight for expansion of the public insurance to low-income kids through the Children's Health Insurance Program, which President Obama signed into law earlier this year. Last year, the rate and the number of uninsured children dipped to their lowest since 1987. Still, advocates are quick to point out, some 7.3 million children lack insurance nationwide" (Brewington, 10/29).

The Los Angeles Times: "The study did not count children who died outside the hospital or after leaving the hospital, which means that deaths among uninsured children are probably even higher" (Roan, 10/29).

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