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Η ασφάλιση υγείας σώζει ζωές, ενισχύει την προστασία υγείας και οικονομικής σιγουριάς ενώ μειώνει την πιθανότητα κατάθλιψης, σύμφωνα με νέα ανάλυση που προήλθε από έρευνα στοιχείων.

Ο κίνδυνος θανάτου μεταξύ των ασφαλισμένων, σε σύγκριση με τους ανασφάλιστους, είναι 0,71 έναντι 0,97, λένε οι ερευνητές.

Ο Steffie Woolhandler (MD,MPH), από το Πανεπιστήμιο της Νέας Υόρκης Σχολή Αστικής Δημόσιας Υγείας στο Hunter College της Νέας Υόρκης και ο David U. Himmelstein(MD), από την Ιατρική Σχολή του Χάρβαρντ, αναφέρουν τα ευρήματά τους σε ένα άρθρο που δημοσιεύθηκε online στις 26 Ιουνίου στα Annals of Internal Medicine.

"Αρκετές νεώτερες παρατηρήσεις και σχεδόν πειραματικές μελέτες έχουν διαπιστώσει ότι η μη ασφάλιση μειώνει την επιβίωση ...”

Δείτε το κείμενο όπως δημοσιεύθηκε στο MedScape:

"The study was right on point," Shawn Martin, senior vice president, Advocacy, Practice Advancement and Policy, American Academy of Family Physicians, told Medscape Medical News. "It's a good reflection of things that are happening around the world, and certainly a lot of people have held those things to be true in the United States."

The results strengthen data from a 2002 Institute of Medicine review of 130 mostly observational studies that found that "the uninsured have poorer health and shortened lives," and that obtaining coverage would reduce their all-cause mortality.

The current review included data from randomized controlled trials that differed in quality, mortality follow-ups of population-based health surveys, and quasi-experimental studies of coverage expansions in US states and Canadian provinces.

Among several specific conditions examined, the uninsured were less likely to use recommended preventive services and were found to have worse survival.

The Oregon Health Insurance Experiment was the only well-conducted randomized controlled trial that analyzed the effect of being without insurance on health outcomes. It included 74,922 nondisabled adults on a waiting list for Medicaid and found that Medicaid coverage lessened mortality by 0.13 percentage points, for an estimated mortality effect of 0.84 for coverage compared with noncoverage.

"This difference was not statistically significant, an unsurprising finding given the OHIE's low power to detect mortality effects because of the cohort's low mortality rate, the low dose of insurance, and the short follow-up," the researchers write.

The two National Health and Nutrition Examination Study analyses that include physicians' determinations of participants' baseline health found important mortality benefits associated with insurance. One found that the hazard ratio for coverage was 0.8 (P = .05) compared with noncoverage after adjustment for baseline characteristics and health status.

In the other, the hazard ratio for coverage was 0.71 (P < .05).

In quasi-experimental studies, researchers compared mortality trends in matched locations that did and did not have coverage expansions in the United States, and one in Canada. All of them found that increased coverage was associated with significant reductions in mortality. The two US studies found risk ratios for expansion of 0.939 (P = .001) and 0.971 (P = .003) in states that expanded coverage compared with those that did not. The Canadian study found a 0.95 or 0.96 risk ratio (P < .05 for both) for expansion compared with nonexpansion, depending on how the researchers modeled time trends.

Several researchers have analyzed data from the longitudinal Health and Retirement Study; most found that near-elderly participants with insurance had slower health decline and decreased mortality.

Determining whether lack of insurance ("uninsurance") increases mortality is complicated for several reasons, the researchers write. It is unethical to randomly assign people to uninsurance, and quasi-experimental analyses depend on unverifiable assumptions. Long follow-up is required because deaths are uncommon and make take a long time to occur. In addition, many people go back and forth between insurance and uninsurance, which waters down the effects of uninsurance. Finally, participants' self-reports of baseline health may be influenced by whether they are insured, making statistical adjustments for baseline health difficult.

"The Case for Coverage Is Strong"

Despite these limitations, the "evidence accumulated since the publication of the [Institute of Medicine's] report in 2002 supports and strengthens its conclusion that health insurance reduces mortality," the researchers explain. "Several newer observational and quasi-experimental studies have found that uninsurance shortens survival, and a few with null results have employed confounded or questionable adjustments for baseline health. The results of the only recent [randomized controlled trial], although far from definitive, are consistent with the positive findings from cohort and quasi-experimental analyses."