Deregulation of the New Jersey hospital industry from 1990 through 1996, with the accompanying 50% cut in subsidies for the uninsured, has been linked to an increase in deaths among uninsured heart attack patients. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine compared New Jersey patient data with similar national and New York statistics for the period. During that time, mortality among uninsured heart attack patients in New York dropped to 8% from 12%, but among uninsured heart attack patients in New Jersey mortality climbed to 8.3% from 7.8%. Mortality for insured heart attack patients declined by the same rate in both states. "Although market-based reforms in medicine are becoming more widespread, little is known about how they affect quality of care," said Kevin Volpp, the study's lead investigator. -- by Cinda Becker
N.J. hospital deregulation may have hurt uninsured
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