News Release

Sick Teen Turned Away for Lack of Insurance Died: Pandemic Reveals “Inefficiency and Inhumanity” of a Broken System

CommonDreams reports: “After Repeatedly Downplaying Threat, Trump Now Says Keeping U.S. Coronavirus Deaths to 100,000 Would Be a ‘Good Job’” and “‘Abolish For-Profit Health Insurance’: Analysis Warns Companies Could Hike Premiums by 40 Percent Amid Pandemic.”

The New York Times reports: “The U.S. Tried to Build a New Fleet of Ventilators. The Mission Failed.”

The Hill reports: “Teen who may have died of coronavirus was turned away from urgent care due to lack of insurance.”

JAMES G. KAHN, MD, MPH, JGKahn at ucsf.edu
Dr. Kahn is emeritus professor at the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and the Institute for Global Health Sciences in the School of Medicine, University of California San Francisco. He said today: “This one case report of a teen with possible COVID-19 is the tip of the deep, deep iceberg of deaths caused by our fractured and dysfunctional health insurance system. It is profoundly sad that this young man died due to delayed medical care because he lacked insurance. What is untold is the hundreds or thousands like him across the country during this pandemic. And the tens of thousands who die each year in the U.S. because of being uninsured.

“Our country is working collectively to fight the coronavirus. At the same time, the pandemic is revealing the frailties, inefficiency, and inhumanity of a broken health insurance system. We must pull together to move to a public-spirited, public-facing, and publicly-funded health insurance system — Medicare for All.”