Statement on IOM Report on Consequences of Not Having Health Insurance

    • February 23, 2009

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) provided financial support to the nonpartisan Institute of Medicine (IOM) to convene a committee of experts to study consequences of being uninsured. Findings and recommendations from the committee were released today.

"This IOM report shows that the evidence on the consequences of being uninsured is stronger than ever. People without insurance do not get the care they need, and too many people live sicker and die sooner as a result.

The report shows that insured adults in communities with high rates of uninsured residents are less likely to be satisfied with the quality of their care and their choice of health care providers. Clearly, when millions of Americans are uninsured, everyone is affected.

With comprehensive health reform being discussed for the first time in many years, the report makes a compelling case for action. In the five years since the IOM has looked at these issues, a bad situation has gotten worse and there are no signs of relief.

As the economy worsens and more and more American's lose their jobs, the number of uninsured is expected to soar. It seems clear that fixing the health care system is a vital step toward strengthening the economy.

The longer we wait, the worse it will get, because health care costs keep rising and more people are becoming uninsured. Too many businesses are forced to choose between providing coverage and creating jobs, and families are forced to spend more of their incomes on health insurance.

Solving America's uninsured crisis won't be easy, but if government, industry and consumers work together, we can fix our health care system and cover all Americans. Fixing the economy means fixing health care, and ensuring that people have health insurance is a critical part."

Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., M.B.A.
President and CEO
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. The Foundation is the sponsor of Cover the Uninsured, the largest mobilization in history to create awareness of the need for action on the issue of the uninsured. As the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. For more than 35 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime.