When Republican politicians and right-wing talking heads bemoan the fictitious “death panels” that they claim would arise from health care reform, they are concealing a sinister reality from their followers. The ugly fact is that every year we fail to reform the existing system, that failure condemns tens of thousands of people to die—either because they have no insurance or because their insurance companies deny coverage or benefits when they become ill.
The best estimate of the annual death toll among Americans of working age due to lack of insurance or under-insurance is at least 20,000, according to studies conducted over the past decade by medical researchers, and the number is almost certainly rising as more and more people lose their coverage as costs continue to go up.
They die primarily because they didn’t have the coverage or the money to pay doctors and thus delayed seeking treatment until it was too late. They don’t get checkups, screenings and other preventive care. That is why uninsured adults are far more likely to be diagnosed with a disease, such as cancer or heart disease, at an advanced stage, which severely reduces their chances of survival.
Insurance company bean-counters literally are death panels. And lack of insurance puts you before the metaphorical death panel every day.
Continuing on a theme from my last post: How many more Stephen Hawkings, Einsteins, Amelia Earharts, Neil Armstrongs, can we produce if we achieve universal health care coverage, a system where people will love longer and healthier, where fewer babies will die in infancy...by the way, our infant mortality rate is higher than most countries, and higher than any country that has national health care. Just how pro-life are you? What's the difference between a baby who dies because of a lack of prenatal and preventative care, and an aborted baby? Aren't both of those babies losing their potential? What's the difference, pro-lifers? Right, there is none.
Universal health care is a step forward in the evolution of humanity. It's a step forward because it will help realize more human beings' potential. Say that unapologetically.