CAHS will release the 2012 Kids Count data book April 30th at 1 pm in an event at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford. Join us!
Births to teenagers are strongly linked to poverty and single
parenthood. Teen mothers are much more likely to go on
welfare than women who postpone childbearing. Nearly half of ever complete high school. This limits the mother’s employment options, putting her at long-term risk of low-wage earnings, and hurts the opportunities available for the child.
Thankfully, we have good news: teen births have been steadily decreasing in the past few years, and the latest data only reinforces that trend. State wide the rate has gone from 13.3 births to mothers 15 to 17 per thousand in 2007 to 10.5 in 2009. The drivers behind this numbers, according to the Youth Risk Behavioral Study, is that teens are delaying the onset of sex, having fewer partners and using condoms more often. School based health centers are offering more reproductive health services, improving access to contraception in many districts.
As happens often in Connecticut we still see a large gap between rates in the larger, poorer cities and the rest of state; Hartford´s has four times as many teen pregnancies as the Connecticut average, Bridgeport three times as many. Some large districts has been fairly successful reducing these numbers, however; Stamford is only 50% over the state average.
We will release data points from the book and analysis in the coming days. The full report includes town by town data for several indicators, and will be available for download after the event.
Conservatives have been asserting this past week that having health insurance is really not that important. Mitt Romney has mentioned in a couple of interviews than people do not die because have health insurance; if someone gets ill, they always can get taken care off in the emergency room.
There is a small problem with this statement: it is completely wrong. Take, for example, this recent study from a team of researchers at John Hopkins comparing mortality rates after having a heart attack or stroke: the uninsured had a risk of death 31% higher than those with private coverage after the heart attack.
Both patients, insured and uninsured, went to the hospital and were treated. As Sarah Kliff points out, however, the uninsured were much more likely to have skkiped out on preventive care, meaning that their health was much worse before the stroke / heart attack, and they were not able to afford the follow up treatment after:
In this analysis, insurance status is likely a proxy for access to care and subsequent poor or incomplete management of cardiovascular risk factors among those with CVD. The phenomena associated with being underinsured, including insurance instability, problems with clinics accepting payments, and inability to afford medications, may be some of the factors that define this high-risk group and contribute to poor disease management.
This is only one study of several. Brian Beutler points at several others. A recent report published on the American Journal of Public Health estimates that lack of health insurance is associated with as many as 44,000 deaths per year in the United States, ore than those caused by kidney disease.
As a senior policymaker put it not long ago (video):
There ought to be enough money to help people get insurance because an insured individual has a better chance of having an excellent medical experience than the one who has not. An insured individual is more likely to go to a primary care physician or a clinic to get evaluated for their conditions and to get early treatment, to get pharmaceutical treatment, as opposed to showing up in the emergency room where the treatment is more expensive and less effective than if they got preventive and primary care.
That was Mitt Romney in April 2006, in a presentation before the Chamber of Commerce, by the way.