Saturday, February 27, 2010

Health Care Holocaust

People, real people by the thousands every year, are dying for lack of medical treatment in the world's richest nation, and after a week of politicians posturing over piles of paper, policy wonks are stunning us with this truth.

A new study shows 68 Americans under age 65 die every day because they don’t have health care, a number that will rise to 84 by 2019--a total of 275,000 needless deaths in a decade.

The numbers from an advocacy group, Families USA, comport with earlier estimates by the Urban Institute and the Institute of Medicine, dry statistics that conceal mass murder by indifference without concentration camps or gas chambers.

Sophisticates who consider such statements overwrought should explain how their cost-benefit analyses make such an outcome inevitable as they advocate, in Sen. Tom Coburn's response to the President's weekly address today, that we "scrap the current bills, which will lead to a government takeover of health care, and we should start over."

Along with this prescription for indifference, a leading GOP presidential hopeful for 2012, Tim Pawlenty, wants to change federal law to allow emergency rooms to turn away patients--"do a little triage," even for those who come in with what Fox's Greta Van Susteren described as "horrible chest pains." (Pace Sarah Palin and her Democratic death panels!)

At the Health Care Summit Thursday, several Democrats tried to focus the discussion on what their constituents are suffering under the current system, but the Republican response was typified by smug Eric Cantor tapping his pile of papers and insisting that "we Republicans care just as much about health care as the Democrats do," while questioning the legality of forcing all Americans to buy health insurance.

At the end of the day, Cantor and his cohorts made it clear that they "simply don’t want to pass comprehensive health-care reform," while the President said of the uninsured, “We can debate whether we can afford to help them. We can’t say they don’t need help.”

As GOP numbers crunchers press their argument with dollar figures, their constituents should take a look at the costs in human lives which, in a time when catastrophic illness can overwhelm middle-class families as readily as the poor, is a threat across the economic and political spectrum.

Making health care reform an us-against-them issue is insane.


(O)CT(O)PUS said...

May I have your permission to post this article in full at the Zone? This excellent article deserves to be all over the Internet.

John Emerson said...

Pawlenty is amazing. He's governor of a state that does most things right, and he's made it his mission to wreck things. The national health outcomes reports just came out, and Minnesota ranks near the top. A lot of it is because of state- and county-funded government programs of various kinds. You can argue about the statistics, but I've seen these programs in operation, up close and personal. You don't have that kind of thing in Mississippi or Kentucky.

Pawlenty was only able to get elected because Jesse Ventura's grumbly, content-free spoiler party siphons of 10%+ of the votes, and because Minnesota's 40% crazy population is as crazy as they are anywhere.

Pawlenty's reputation as a moderate is undeserved, but he'll still have to crazify himself a lot to make it with the Republican base, and he seems to be failing. he's probably the mainstream Republican favorite by now, along with Romney, because I think that they've finally figured out that Palin (whose goal was probably Fox News all along) is a blithering idiot even by Republican standards.

Our next President.

Anonymous said...

This "debate" on health care reform shows how far our country has fallen. If the republicans would step back, and REALLY follow their moral agenda there could be no argument that every one deserves not to die as the result of being poor. In addition to their so called fiscal brilliance, it should be common sense to provide healthcare for everyone, - after all one poor person with multi- drug resistant TB could infect dozens of rich folks. Bad results from poor communal health care are guaranteed to impact everyone.