People do die for lack of health insurance
October 15, 2012 2 Comments
Like many a Republican, Mitt Romney frequently repeats the claim that people don’t really need health insurance because there’s always the ER. I’m not going to waste a lot of time going through just how dumb that statement is. That’s what this NPR story is for:
In a discussion of that plan with editors ofThe Columbus Dispatch, Romney said this:
“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.”
But Romney was talking about something slightly different in Ohio: the idea that the U.S. doesn’t have people who become ill or die because they don’t have insurance. That, however, is belied by a large and growing body of academic studies, starting with a landmark study from the nonpartisan Institute of Medicine in 2002 that found 18,000 people died in the year 2000 because they lacked health insurance. [emphasis mine] Various updates of that study have come up with even larger numbers, mostly because of a growing number of uninsured people, combined with the increasing cost of medical care. In other words, there’s a growing gap between what you can get with insurance and without.
That’s okay, though, because I’m sure most of those people are just moochers and takers who are part of the 47%.