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So What if 45,000 Americans Die Each Year From Lack of Medical Coverage?

By       Message Michael Payne       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink

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To most rational-thinking Americans who have been made aware of the fact that 45,000 Americans die each year from a lack of medical insurance, that's terrible, appalling news. But, as incomprehensible as it may be, there are those in America that have actually used that very statistic to support their efforts to destroy any attempt to provide medical coverage for every American.

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Here is the link to a study conducted at Harvard Medical School that supports that statistic. It also indicates that"Uninsured, working-age Americans have a 40 percent higher death risk than privately insured counterparts."

It's very troubling to hear certain Washington politicians use that very statistic to launch attacks on the Affordable Care Act. It's actually shocking to hear some of them say, in effect, "Well, if only 45,000 thousand people die each year from a lack of coverage, that's nothing when we consider that there are 313 million people in this country." Can you believe it? Don't they understand that this means that in 10 years almost 500,000 Americans will die because they were without coverage?

Maybe their attitude would be far different if they had a family member or a close friend who, because they could not afford medical insurance or could not obtain it due to a pre-exiting condition, died as a result; when appropriate and necessary preventative testing could have saved their lives. So if they are not directly affected, then they could care less; that is, about their fellow Americans.

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And then there are those who dismiss that statistic by saying that, considering other things besides health care, there are many thousands of Americans who lose their lives as a result of auto accidents, gun violence, suicides and other tragedies. But that's just their way of trying to rationalize away an issue that represents a massive problem; one that stands completely on its own and has nothing to do with these other tragedies.

That being said, this article will not discuss the pros and cons of the Affordable Care Act and to initiate yet another endless debate between the two diametrically opposed sides of this issue. That legislation, designed to provide coverage for 45 million Americans currently without coverage, will either, over a period of time, prove to be effective or it will slowly wither and die. The main purpose and premise of this article is to illustrate the great breadth and depth of this entire issue; how this sad situation by which 45,000 Americans die annually due to a lack of coverage is merely the tip of a giant iceberg.

I believe we should address this important question; why is it that the American people are so divided on this issue of health care? Why are there so many of us that want very badly for every American to have the same coverage that we do and yet there are also so many who are so adamant in their belief that this concept of some form of universal health care has no place in this nation and society.

The reality is simply this: if 45,000 Americans die because they could not have appropriate, necessary preventative tests earlier in their lives and, later in life, are told in the emergency room that their condition is terminal, then that's a blight on this society and is totally unacceptable. But as bad as that may be it's only one part of the massive problem that is involved with this nation's health care system. Besides those people who die needlessly, let's examine the many situations in which the people of this country are so adversely affected by not having medical coverage; and there are many:

Let's start with personal bankruptcies. It is a fact that close to 2 million Americans will file for personal bankruptcy this year as a result of their inability to pay their medical bills; a condition due to either poor medical coverage or a total lack of it. Over 60% of all bankruptcies are the result of medical bills that cannot be paid. These kinds of medical bankruptcies are much greater than those that are filed for credit card problems or unpaid mortgages.


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Here are some striking and very troubling statistics from NerdWallet.com, the personal finance and credit card comparison website: Look at these estimates involving the issue of medical coverage and its effects on people for 2013:

*56 million Americans under age 65 will have trouble paying medical bills.

*Over 35 million American adults (ages 19-64) will be contacted by collections agencies for unpaid medical bills; 17 million of the same age group will receive a lower credit rating on account of their medical bills.

*Over 15 million adults in the same age group will use us all their savings to pay medical bills; over 11 million in the same age group will take on credit card debt to pay off their hospital bills.

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Michael Payne is an independent, progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues. He is a featured writer on Opednews and Nation of Change and his articles have appeared on many other websites (more...)

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