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According to a study recently released by Reuters.com, nearly 45,000 American dies annually in the U.S due to lack of health care coverage. The alarming statistic boils down to one death every 12 minutes, Harvard Medical researchers found.

Dr. David Himmelstein, co-author of the study and associate professor of medicine at Harvard, said, “We’re losing more Americans every day because of inaction … than drunk driving and homicide combined.”

The research shows that those without coverage, ages 64 and younger, have a 40 percent greater chance of dying than those who are covered.

The finding comes at a time when President Barack Obama has called for an overhaul of the healthcare industry which will expand coverage and reduce healthcare costs.

While the plan would be hugely beneficial for the 47 million Americans who have no healthcare coverage, the notion is being brashly criticized by critics who believe the plan will only worsen the deficits and spike taxes.

Part of the increased risk now is due to the growing ranks of the uninsured, Himmelstein said. Roughly 46.3 million people in the United States lacked coverage in 2008, the U.S. Census Bureau reported last week, up from 45.7 million in 2007.

Another factor is that there are fewer places for the uninsured to get good care. Public hospitals and clinics are shuttering or scaling back across the country in cities like New Orleans, Detroit and others, he said.

Study co-author Dr. Steffie Woolhandler said the findings show that without proper care, uninsured people are more likely to die from complications associated with preventable diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

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