Uninsured Americans Increase Total Health Care Costs, Says ACP-ASIM President

Apr 30, 2001, 01:00 ET from American College of Physicians - American Society of Internal Medicine

    WASHINGTON, April 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Increasing access to preventive
 medicine and early treatment therapies through expanded health insurance
 coverage could substantially reduce the nation's total burden of illness, said
 American College of Physicians - American Society of Internal Medicine (ACP-
 ASIM) President William J. Hall, MD, FACP in a speech April 26 before the
 Institute of Medicine.
     "Medical treatment for the uninsured is often more expensive than
 treatment for the insured because people without health insurance are more
 likely to receive medical care in the emergency department than in a
 physician's office," said Dr. Hall.  According to the National Center for
 Health Statistics, non-urgent cases accounted for more than 50% of the 90
 million visits to U.S. hospital emergency departments in 1992.  These
 increased costs are passed on to the insured or paid by taxpayers.
     The College's Decision 2000 Campaign dedicated $1 million to highlighting
 this issue in the 2000 elections.  The College was responding to research
 showing 57% of Americans believe that, despite lacking health insurance, the
 uninsured are able to get the care they need from doctors and hospitals.
 
     To dispel this myth, the College documented the health consequences of a
 lack of insurance. Scientific literature suggests that uninsured Americans
 are:
 
     *  Less likely to have a regular source of care
     *  Less likely to have had a recent physician visit
     *  More likely to delay seeking care
     *  More likely to report they have not received needed care
     *  Less likely to use preventive services
 
     Uninsured Americans also experience poorer medical outcomes.  Uninsured
 Americans:
 
     *  Experience a generally higher mortality and a specifically higher in-
        hospital mortality
     *  Are more likely to experience adverse health outcomes
     *  Are more likely to require both avoidable hospitalizations and
        emergency hospital care
 
     ACP-ASIM also coauthored a study with the Harvard Medical School
 documenting the unmet health needs of the uninsured.  The study found that
 long-term uninsured adults reported much greater unmet health needs than
 insured adults, particularly among patients with life-threatening illnesses
 that respond to early treatment.
     "Our ultimate goal is simple -- we want the president and members of
 Congress to pledge to support a plan to make affordable, accessible health
 insurance available to all Americans," said Dr. Hall.  "Ideally, this plan
 would outline a sequence of steps that end by providing coverage for everyone
 by a specific date."
 
     ACP-ASIM is the nation's largest medical specialty society and the second
 largest professional medical association.  The College represents over 115,000
 physicians who specialize in internal medicine and medical students with an
 interest in internal medicine.
 
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                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X52719928
 
 

SOURCE American College of Physicians - American Society of Internal Medicine
    WASHINGTON, April 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Increasing access to preventive
 medicine and early treatment therapies through expanded health insurance
 coverage could substantially reduce the nation's total burden of illness, said
 American College of Physicians - American Society of Internal Medicine (ACP-
 ASIM) President William J. Hall, MD, FACP in a speech April 26 before the
 Institute of Medicine.
     "Medical treatment for the uninsured is often more expensive than
 treatment for the insured because people without health insurance are more
 likely to receive medical care in the emergency department than in a
 physician's office," said Dr. Hall.  According to the National Center for
 Health Statistics, non-urgent cases accounted for more than 50% of the 90
 million visits to U.S. hospital emergency departments in 1992.  These
 increased costs are passed on to the insured or paid by taxpayers.
     The College's Decision 2000 Campaign dedicated $1 million to highlighting
 this issue in the 2000 elections.  The College was responding to research
 showing 57% of Americans believe that, despite lacking health insurance, the
 uninsured are able to get the care they need from doctors and hospitals.
 
     To dispel this myth, the College documented the health consequences of a
 lack of insurance. Scientific literature suggests that uninsured Americans
 are:
 
     *  Less likely to have a regular source of care
     *  Less likely to have had a recent physician visit
     *  More likely to delay seeking care
     *  More likely to report they have not received needed care
     *  Less likely to use preventive services
 
     Uninsured Americans also experience poorer medical outcomes.  Uninsured
 Americans:
 
     *  Experience a generally higher mortality and a specifically higher in-
        hospital mortality
     *  Are more likely to experience adverse health outcomes
     *  Are more likely to require both avoidable hospitalizations and
        emergency hospital care
 
     ACP-ASIM also coauthored a study with the Harvard Medical School
 documenting the unmet health needs of the uninsured.  The study found that
 long-term uninsured adults reported much greater unmet health needs than
 insured adults, particularly among patients with life-threatening illnesses
 that respond to early treatment.
     "Our ultimate goal is simple -- we want the president and members of
 Congress to pledge to support a plan to make affordable, accessible health
 insurance available to all Americans," said Dr. Hall.  "Ideally, this plan
 would outline a sequence of steps that end by providing coverage for everyone
 by a specific date."
 
     ACP-ASIM is the nation's largest medical specialty society and the second
 largest professional medical association.  The College represents over 115,000
 physicians who specialize in internal medicine and medical students with an
 interest in internal medicine.
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X52719928
 
 SOURCE  American College of Physicians - American Society of Internal Medicine