For the Sake of Truth, Part 3: People Do Die from Lack of Insurance

Previously known as On the Offensive…I’ve been posting these on facebook, but decided to switch it over to my blog.

Fact:  On Wednesday October 10th, Mitt Romney said that people don’t die from lack of health insurance.

“We don’t have people that become ill, who die in their apartment because they don’t have insurance. We don’t have a setting across this country where if you don’t have insurance, we just say to you, ‘Tough luck, you’re going to die when you have your heart attack.’ No, you go to the hospital, you get treated, you get care, and it’s paid for, either by charity, the government or by the hospital.”

Fact: Absolutely correct. As a future physician, I am not going to turn a person away from medical care they need. So yes, if you show up to a hospital ER, you will get treatment.
Will it be preventative? By definition, no.
Will it be long-term? Be definition, “emergency,” no.
Will it be expensive? Yes. Not everyone that comes into the ER can pay their bills. That cost gets shifted on to the other patients by raising costs on their insurance companies (hence why a Tylenol pill costs $7 at the hospital). In turn, the insurance companies raise premiums on their customers.
Fact: People do die because of lack of health insurance. If you have insurance, you are more likely to go to a doctor, to catch illnesses ahead of time, to treat them before it becomes out of control. Think: heart disease, diabetes…diseases that are prevalent in communities that are a part of poor communities that usually do not have health insurance. Tell them that not having health insurance does not lead to death, and a painful death.
Opinion: Gov. Romeny goes around saying people need to have “personal responsibility” for their actions. I agree, but do we punish someone so severely by taking away the quality of their life if they make the silly mistake of not purchasing health insurance, or worse, not being able to afford health insurance? No. We are a first world country. We are socially advanced. We are a nation that takes care of each other, especially when others can’t take care of themselves.
His comments are a hallmark of an individual who has not had any experience with or even taken the time to reflect on the condition of people who don’t have health insurance. It’s really hard to imagine it unless you really, really try, or see it and experience it first or second-hand. This is not an individual who should be making policy.
Opinion Why does not expanding insurance matter as much to him? Because the people who need it the most are the 47% that are not important Americans to him–they will not vote for him anyways.
Educate yourself before you vote.
Death by Ideology — Paul Krugman, NYTimes
A Possibly Fatal Mistake, Nicholas Kristof, NYTimes

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