The Medically Uninsured Are Working Folk Too
December 17, 2015 by Ricardo Azziz, MD, MPH, MBA
As we come into the Holiday season, I find this a good time to give thanks for all the blessings that my family, my friends and most of us have, in one way or another. And it’s also a good time to think about those that are less unfortunate than we are. And this includes the medically uninsured.
Lest you believe that being medically under or uninsured is not as bad as it sounds, we should remember that roughly 40% of Americans owe collectors for medical bills and that U.S. adults are more likely than those in other developed countries to struggle to pay their medical bills or worse, to forgo care because of cost, as a recent piece in The Atlantic highlighted. Which means that medical bills have become the leading cause of personal bankruptcy. And being under or uninsured quite literally leads to an early death. An analysis by Families USA noted that across the nation, 26,100 people between the ages of 25 and 64 died prematurely due to a lack of health coverage in 2010, placing the lack of insurance in the top 15 causes of death per the US DHHS National Vital Statistics Report.
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Ricardo Azziz, MD, MPH, MBA
A educator-scientist-executive with over 20 years of leadership experience in higher education, research, and healthcare, Dr. Azziz currently serves as Regents’ Professor, Augusta University; Senior Fellow, American Association of State Colleges & Universities; Visiting Scholar, Pullias Center for Higher Education, University of Southern California; and former founding CEO, Georgia Regents Health System.