A Lack of Health Insurance Killed 2,266 Veterans in 2008

A new report has revealed that an astounding 2,266 U.S. military veterans died from a lack of health insurance in 2008. According to the report released by Harvard Medical School researchers, this number is more than seven times the number of U.S. casualties in Iraq last year and equates to six deaths a day.

Why Are Veterans Dying?

According to the report, there is a common misconception that all veterans qualify for lifetime care through the Veterans Health Administration, but this is not true. In fact, the researchers found that 1.46 million veterans under 65 were uninsured last year. Many of the uninsured were not qualified for lifetime coverage because they earned too much to qualify and earned too little to afford private insurance.

Co-authors from the report noted that veterans are less likely to get care for diabetes, high blood pressure and other chronic conditions. However, if they’re not properly treated, these conditions could turn lethal. What’s worse is that many middle-income earning veterans would not even benefit from new health care reforms because they earn too much to qualify for government subsidies to buy insurance. In other words, they would need to up with thousands in out-of-pocket expenses.

Other Stats from the Report

Researchers noted some other interested stats from their research:

  • 40 percent of uninsured working-age Americans are more likely to die than those with private coverage.
  • 45,000 deaths in the U.S. each year are attributed to a lack of health insurance.

It’s clearly difficult enough for civilians without health insurance, but when veterans have risked their lives to protect their country, many veterans’ advocates struggle with the government’s inability to take care of all veterans, regardless of income. Ironically, the report from Harvard Medical School was released on Veteran’s Day.