17,000 Children Died with No Insurance in Last 20 Years

BALTIMORE, Nov. 3 (UPI) — A lack of health insurance may have led or contributed to the deaths of 17,000 hospitalized children in the last 20 years, U.S. medical researchers said.

Study co-investigator David Chang of the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center said the researchers used data from more than 23 million hospital records in 37 states from 1988-2005.

Researchers compared the risk of death in children with health insurance and in those with no health insurance.

Other factors being equal, the study, published in the Journal of Public Health, found that uninsured children were 60 percent more likely to die in the hospital than those with insurance.

In the study, 104,520 patients died — 0.47 percent — out of 22.2 million insured hospitalized children, compared to 9,468 — 0.75 percent — who died among the 1.2 million uninsured ones.

“If you are a child without insurance, if you’re seriously ill and end up in the hospital, you are 60 percent more likely to die than the sick child in the next room who has insurance,” lead investigator Dr. Fizan Abdullah said in a statement.

The analysis shows a powerful link between health insurance and risk of dying in children, the researchers said.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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