An interesting article appeared today - I am linking to Dr. Gupta's blog since he presents the information more clearly than other sites have done.
So, they aren't sure why, but the uninsured are more likely to die in the hospital.
Is it because the uninsured delay going to the hospital? Very likely . . .
Is it because the uninsured receive fewer high-cost life-saving treatments? Quite possibly . . .
Is it because the uninsured are more likely to receive substandard care? Seems to be the case . . .
Now the question is, what do we do about it?? As someone whose child was very ill many years ago and had no insurance coverage (the company refused to cover him because he had a "pre-existing condition in the womb"!), I did not fully appreciate the fact that he might have been more likely to die simply because he was uninsured.
Disclosure might be necessary as a first step to transparency - perhaps a sign should be placed at the foot of each bed saying "NOTICE: if you are uninsured, you are more likely to die in the hospital than the insured patient in the bed next to you. Sorry for the inconvenience."
Even though I know that our area hospitals go out of their way to provide free care to patients who are uninsured and vulnerable, this article gives us something sobering to think about.