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04.20.2021 / Press Release

Reporters Note – New Data Now Available for Report Detailing COVID-19 Deaths Linked to Health Coverage Gaps

MEDIA AVAILABILITY – To speak to Stan Dorn, Director of the National Center for Coverage Innovation, about the Catastrophic Cost of Uninsurance report, please contact Lisa Holland, lholland@familiesusa.org

New Data Now Available for Report Detailing COVID-19 Deaths Linked to America’s Catastrophic Health Coverage Gaps 

February Numbers, County Data Underscore Need for Immediate Congressional Action

 An enhanced and updated version of Families USA report, The Catastrophic Cost of Uninsurance: COVID-19 Cases and Deaths Closely Tied to America’s Health Coverage Gaps (the prior version of which was released in early March) now includes complete data for February 2021 and links to county-level numbers in every state as well as the 40 hardest-hit counties in several categories.

The report is based on a groundbreaking, peer-reviewed study published late last year finding that each 10% increase in the proportion of a county’s residents who lacked health insurance was associated with a 70% increase in COVID-19 cases and a 48% increase in COVID-19 deaths.

Applying this research to facts on the ground, the updated Families USA report finds that the country might have prevented 143,000 out of the 437,000 COVID-19 deaths it experienced by February 1 of this year if everyone in America had health insurance.  Counties with the very highest numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths associated with health insurance gaps are found in Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Nevada, New York, and Texas,   

The Catastrophic Cost of Uninsurance paints in stark detail the urgent need for elected officials to build on the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and finally ensure that all families have the opportunity to live a healthy life and receive affordable, high-quality health care. Findings indicate that 44% fewer people would have been infected with COVID-19, and one out of every three COVID-19 deaths would have been prevented if everyone in America had health insurance. The ARP made significant strides to protect health care access, but far more is needed as lawmakers gear up to debate longer-term legislation, the report urges.

“It is hard to believe, but despite the deadliest pandemic in more than a century, far too many politicians still haven’t figured out that we’re all in this together—that if some of us can’t afford health care, all of us are at risk. People without insurance often delay going to the doctor even if they start to feel sick. Not only are they in danger, the virus spreads, undetected, to everyone whose paths they cross,” said Stan Dorn, the report’s author and Director of the National Center for Coverage Innovation at Families USA. “It’s finally time to make sure that, in the country with the world’s best medical research and treatment, no one has to worry that they can’t afford health care or has to choose between going to the doctor when they get sick and feeding their family.”

Families USA, a leading national voice for health care consumers, is dedicated to the achievement of high-quality, affordable health care and improved health for all.