A new study (prepublication draft here) by Harvard researchers finds that lack of insurance is responsible for about 45,000 deaths per year. This is the equivalent of the ninth-leading cause of death according to CDC statistics--none of the others of which can be reduced to zero by a simple act of Congress. A 1993 study put the figure then at 18,000 deaths annually. The new study was an update of the earlier one.
Nearly 45,000 people die in the United States each year - one every 12 minutes - in large part because they lack health insurance and can not get good care, Harvard Medical School researchers found in an analysis released on Thursday.
"We're losing more Americans every day because of inaction ... than drunk driving and homicide combined," Dr. David Himmelstein, a co-author of the study and an associate professor of medicine at Harvard, said in an interview with Reuters.
Overall, researchers said American adults age 64 and younger who lack health insurance have a 40 percent higher risk of death than those who have coverage.
The findings come amid a fierce debate over Democrats' efforts to reform the nation's $2.5 trillion U.S. healthcare industry by expanding coverage and reducing healthcare costs.
Our Versailles masters have made the judgment that talking too much about the uninsured will "turn off" those have insurance, and those are the only voters that matter. This assumption rests on conservative morality that people only care about themselves--unless, of course, they get whipped up over abortion, or ACORN, or imaginary death panels, or whatever.
But the very essence of the liberal vision is that we are all in this together. That's what Locke's Social Contract Theory was all about: government is legitimated by the fact that none of us can securely enjoy any liberty by ourselves. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are secured by our mutual agreement, far beyond our capacity to secure them individually by ourselves.
Of course, Locke was hardly the first liberal. There was this Jewish fellah, name of Jesus who said, "whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."
So I sort of have to wonder why we can be having this health care debate without the whole thing being constantly framed in terms of our general welfare. You know, like it says in the Constitution:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America....
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States;
So, where are liberal values in this debate, anyway? Where are America's founding values?
Why is the health-care debate so damned un-American?