Friday, June 12, 2020

18.2 million at increased risk of severe COVID-19 uninsured or underinsured: Harvard study

News Release 10-Jun-2020
Physicians for a National Health Program

Even before soaring unemployment caused millions of Americans to lose their health insurance, 18.2 million individuals at increased risk of severe COVID-19 were either uninsured or underinsured, according to a new study published today (June 10) in the Journal of General Internal Medicine by researchers at Harvard Medical School and CUNY's Hunter College. Although most of those at high medical and financial risk were white, racial minorities were over-represented.


They found that Blacks, Native Americans, lower-income individuals of all races/ethnicities, and those residing in rural areas or in states that had not expanded Medicaid were doubly disadvantaged: they were both more likely to be at high risk of severe COVID-19 and to lack adequate coverage.


Persons in states that failed to expand Medicaid were 6% more likely to be high risk, and 52% more likely to have inadequate coverage compared to those in states that accepted the ACA's Medicaid expansion.


"It's not just COVID care that's unaffordable," said co-author Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, Distinguished Professor of Public Health at CUNY's Hunter College and a Lecturer in Medicine at Harvard Medical School. "Patients with heart disease, asthma, and diabetes need protection too. Medicare for All is the long-term answer. But in the meantime, passage of the stopgap Medicare expansion bills introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Pramila Jayapal would ensure that patients can get the care they need during the crisis, regardless of their diagnosis."

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