The Tragedy of American Health Coverage

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Where Even a Toothache Can Kill You!

A recent story in the news has been that of a 24 year old Cincinnati man who died of an infected tooth. Why? Because he was unemployed and had no health insurance. When his face began to swell he went to emergency but wouldn't take the antibiotics offered because he couldn't afford them. Consequently, the infection reached his brain and it killed him.

That underscores the biggest problem with the American health care system. The United States is the only wealthy, industrialized country in the world that doesn't provide health coverage for its citizens.

A study conducted in 2009 by Harvard Medical School researchers revealed that an estimated 45,000 people - one every 12 minutes - die every year in the United States because of lack of health coverage. I would suspect that the actual number is much higher. According to the report that's higher than all deaths by homicide and drunk driving combined each year! If that happened to even one person in other countries the outcry would be deafening.

What really stuns this writer, however, is how little a great number of Americans seem to care about this statistic or try to call statistics like this into question. For example, there is an article by Robert Longley at About.com that takes issue with the statistic that 46 million Americans are uninsured. His first argument is that this doesn't mean they can't get health care. He writes that "all patients seeking care in hospital emergency rooms must be given a minimum level of treatment." However, no one is arguing that! While we're on the subject, continuing cutbacks are reducing the amount of free treatment available. Additionally, do you not see something wrong with "given a MINIMUM level of treatment"? We give animals a minimum level of treatment as well, and if that doesn't take care of the problem we euthanize them. Should be do that for humans as well, or are human beings worth more? Unfortunately, the theory of evolution teaches that we are nothing more than animals and we've been conditioned to believe that.

Second, Longley argues that even those with health insurance aren't immune to soaring costs. But, at least they get better treatment than those without insurance! I think it's unconscionable that anyone in this country should be forced into bankruptcy due to medical bills or that they're forced to forgo treatments because of costs. Since when is money more important than people? Before leaving this article, watch the 4 minute video below called "Dreams for Kori" and tell me you're not touched by the situation!

Third, Longley takes issue with President Obama's claim that 14,000 people a day are losing their health insurance. He writes that although that may be correct, not all are permanently losing their insurance - that they may get jobs again later. What does that have to do with anything? That even one person is without coverage for even a day is a tragedy!

Longley then notes that of the 46 million without insurance, more than 10 million are non-U.S. citizens. I wonder how he knows, since he argues with the 46 million statistics. If he's referring to legal residents, like myself, we pay our taxes and are entitled to coverage. If he's referring to illegal residents, even they deserve humanitarian care, at least.

Finally, he refers to other programs that are available. Yes, those are fine for those eligible, but many fall out of that category. They don't have children and don't meet the Medicare requirements. What about them?

I'm literally stunned at the people who try to make excuses for the United States not providing what other countries have seen fit to give to their citizens. Mind you, there is plenty of money available for the U.S. war machine!

Finally, a note to my fellow Christians who are active in the pro-life movement. Fantastic job, defending the most innocent of human beings! It shows that you care for human life at all stages - or do you? Some of the people most vehemently opposed to providing health insurance coverage to those who can't afford it are Christians! One Christian even told me people have to die sometime so let them! It simply boggles my mind that Christians think this way, but many do. I, personally, have little use for President Obama and the job he's done in running up the deficit. The current plan that would allow funding for abortions needs to be changed. However, should the Republicans get elected next year you can be sure any health insurance plan in any form will receive the death knell. Do I hear a call for a third party???

Be sure to watch the 4-minute video, "Dreams for Kori," on this page - this is what some people feel they are forced to do for their families when they don't have health insurance.

Dreams for Kori

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Heather McMillan profile image

Heather McMillan 5 years ago from Hampton, VA

Twelve years ago at age 24 I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. I had no health insurance. I was given a double mastectomy and six months of treatment because without it I would be dead within two years. I was not allowed to have reconstruction surgery because that was not necessary for life, didn't matter that it would forever change my value of life the way I saw it or my self esteem. I was not given any drugs to counter the side effects of chemotherapy so I suffered through, to include the development of a stomache ulcer toward the end. Four years later I had to file bankruptcy because I owed so much money I could never pay the money back and even now it has still made it difficult to get a loan, credit card, rent a place to live. I know first hand what it is like to be sick and have no insurance. I was a statistic an believe me, no one cared. It is an outrage. Rated up, and interesting.

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