Just a quick translation of the headlines. This is totally a back-of-the-envelope estimate, but it's a useful way of thinking about a policy decision.
By way of background, Texas Gov. Rick Perry is refusing Obamacare dollars, and that in turn means about 1 million Texans won't have health insurance. This number is all over the news, for example, here.
OK, the US death rate is about 800 per 100,000, according to the CDC. According to Harvard research, not having health insurance increases your risk of death by 40%. For 1 million people, the (admittedly unadjusted) death number would be 8,000 per year. 40% extra deaths means 3,200 extra deaths in Texas per year, or almost 9 deaths per day, or roughly one death every 3 hours.
If my math is wrong, please correct me.
- Dr. Mike