The Center for Disease Control (CDC) released the following data for the top three causes of death in the United States in 2013:
- Heart disease: 611,105 deaths
- Cancer: 584,881 deaths
- Chronic Respiratory Disease: 149,205 deaths
The following data is taken from the CDC’s 2017 report.
- Number of deaths per year from heart disease: 635,260.
- Number of deaths per year from cancer: 598,038.
- Number of deaths per year from accidents (unintentional injuries): 161,374.
Not having healthcare insurance can kill you. In 2002, an Institute of Medicine (IOM) was the first to link the lack of insurance with mortality. The recent evidence strengthens conﬁdence in the Institute of Medicine’s conclusion that health insurance saves lives, as “the odds of dying among the insured relative to the uninsured is 0.71 to 0.97”
If we took a potential sampling of the most recent “Leading causes of death” and just applied a 3-6% probability, up to 15,000 avoidable deaths from lack of health care coverage occur in the United States per year. And that might be just the tip of the iceberg!
Today, older Americans pay 13 percent of their health care expenses directly out-of-pocket, compared with 56 percent in 1966. By ensuring access to care, Medicare has contributed to a five- year increase in life expectancy at age 65. Medicare covers 55 million Americans, about 17 percent of the U.S. population.
Why do seniors have declining death rates? ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE! And this improvement can be seen across all sectors of our society.
 National Center for Health Statistics. “Leading Causes of Death.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 17 Mar. 2017, www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/leading-causes-of-death.htm.
 Woolhandler, Steffie, and David U. Himmelstein. “The Relationship of Health Insurance and Mortality: Is Lack of Insurance Deadly?” Annals of Internal Medicine, American College of Physicians, 19 Sept. 2017, annals.org/aim/fullarticle/2635326/relationship-health-insurance-mortality-lack-insurance-deadly
 This Can Kill You-American Healthcare in Transition, Brian H. Casull MD, MPA, March 2017.
 Davis, K et al, “MEDICARE: 50 Years of Ensuring Coverage and Care,” The Commonwealth Fund, April 2015, www.commonwealthfund.org/sites/default/files/documents/___media_files_publications_fund_report_2015_apr_1812_davis_medicare_50_years_coverage_care.pdf
 McKay, Betsy,”U.S. Death Rates Rising for Young, Middle-Aged U.S. Adults: Opioid epidemic and stalled progress against heart disease have dragged down life expectancy,” The Wall Street Journal, 23 July 2019, www.wsj.com/articles/death-rates-rising-for-young-middle-aged-u-s-adults-11563854580