KUNM Local
6:16 pm
Fri March 5, 2010

Consumer group issues warning for NM on health care

Albuquerque, NM – Washington, D.C.-based Families USA released a report Friday for all fifty states. It estimates fatalities over the past fifteen years and projects deaths through the year 2019.

The report indicates 3,000 people have died in New Mexico since 1995 due to a lack of health insurance.

The number nationwide was 292,000. Families USA President Ron Pollack says the organization has been using the information to put pressure on Congress.

POLLACK: "We've actually had a number of members of Congress use this data in their own town hall meetings, and in their own explanations of why they think health reform is critically important. So we think this does have an impact, and obviously we're releasing this date in advance of the vote so that people are aware that there are deadly consequences for failing to pass reform."

The data were estimated using methodology developed by the Institute of Medicine, which found that people without health insurance are 25 percent more likely to die than those who have it.

Pollack says people without insurance or with poor coverage put off health care, which is fatal for some of them.

About 330,000 adult New Mexicans lack insurance.

Pollack says he expects Congress will use the reconciliation process to pass a health care overhaul, which will include premium subsidies and out-of-pocket protections for families that make 55,000 dollars per year or less.

He says the measure will probably also delay any excise taxes on so-called "Cadillac" insurance plans, which means Medicare payroll taxes on high-income earners will likely increase.