Letter: Too many uninsured die
To the editor:
The link below to a recent Harvard study says that 45,000 Americans die each year due to not having health insurance, in effect not being able to afford adequate health care, in the United States. This is about one in every thousand uninsured Americans each year. That's roughly the same number that die in auto accidents.
Based on this, about 72 times as many Americans have died since 2001 (about 360,000) due to lack of affordable health care as have died fighting terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan (about 5,100). This is not to equate the deaths of our servicemen with the uninsured but to compare the numbers with something we hear about every day. For each brave serviceman who dies over there, 72 die from preventable causes here. For the most part these are regular middle class people who work. Poor people get Medicaid, older people get Medicare, so these uninsured people are mostly working poor making just a little more than would qualify them for Medicaid but not enough to afford health insurance or pay directly for decent health care. The number of deaths would be just part of the loss to our society. The number of people who become incapacitated and wards of the state due to preventable causes, such as diabetic blindness or leg loss, or strokes due to untreated high blood pressure, over a period of 10 years is probably in the millions. This makes the whole country poorer financially as well as morally.
The link to the website is: http://www.dailyfinance.com/2009/09/18/lack-of-health-insurance-kills-45....