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Book and Media Reviews
June 16, 2010

The Care of the Uninsured in America

JAMA. 2010;303(23):2414-2418. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.812

It is terrible to be uninsured in America. Persons without insurance have unmet medical needs and are at high risk of bankruptcy from uncovered medical expenses. Some of the uninsured die unnecessarily and prematurely.

Uninsured persons are cared for—when they receive care at all—by a valiant group of professionals (physicians, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, and others), often at community health centers. Those caring for uninsured persons face daunting challenges. Many uninsured persons have mental illness; some are homeless. It is difficult for the uninsured to obtain specialty and nonemergent hospital care. Even free drug programs promoted by the pharmaceutical companies require reams of paperwork from patients who often speak little or no English.