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Politicians are protecting insurance industry profits by sacrificing American lives

A new study out of Harvard Medical School shows that lack of health insurance causes an estimated extra 45,000 deaths a year. And thats after taking into account socioeconomics, health behaviors, and baseline health.

Previously a study from the Institute of Medicine estimated the number of deaths at 18,000 annually, but that study was based on 20 year old data. In other words, the situation is getting worse.

In other words, around 123 people die every day because they don’t have health insurance. According to the study, people without health insurance face a 40% increased risk of death. And if you are sick and without insurance, you are more than twice as likely to die as those people with insurance.

The Institute of Medicine, using older studies, estimated that one American dies every 30 minutes from lack of health insurance. Even this grim figure is an underestimate — now one dies every 12 minutes.

At that rate, more people die every month because of our terrible health insurance situation than were killed by terrorism on 9/11.

One of the co-authors of the study had this to say about the health reform bills in Congress:

Historically, every other developed nation has achieved universal health care through some form of nonprofit national health insurance. Our failure to do so means that all Americans pay higher health care costs, and 45,000 pay with their lives. Even the most liberal version of the House bill would have left 17 million uninsured, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The whittled down Senate bill will be worse — leaving tens of millions uninsured, and tens of thousands dying because of lack of care. Without the administrative savings only attainable through a Medicare-for-all, single-payer reform — real universal coverage will remain unaffordable. Politicians are protecting insurance industry profits by sacrificing American lives.



  1. Eva wrote:

    1) Healthy 50s man discovers that he has intestinal cancer. Uninsured. Dr. goes in and does some slight palliative care. Healthy man gets deeply in debt but gets health insurance through his job. He after a year goes back and has the surgery done right. Now this healthy man all this time has not been putting into the health insurance kitty. Our rates are higher due to his surgery.
    2) Mother of 4 in her 50s has no assets so doesn’t worry about health insurance. She learns she needs surgery. She is on health insurance now waiting out the year. She has not been paying into the kitty. Our rates are higher.
    A) People must be forced to have health insurance
    B) It must be sliding scale by Income
    C) And can be on a private plan as New York has. My son, wife, four children are on the same health insurance I am. They pay co=pays, the adults pay higher co-pays. My son raises the milk you do or do not drink. As you know, they have no income. Their insurance is subsidized by the government, not completely the other people in the plan.

    Friday, September 18, 2009 at 6:48 am | Permalink
  2. TJ wrote:

    In addition to all this, and perhaps more important than all this in my opinion, we need reform to control the cost of care. Costs are out of control – they are way too high and still rising. The ridiculous system of charging $X and then giving insurance companies gigantic discounts but expecting the uninsured to pay “full price” needs to change. Their costs obviously aren’t the basis for the “full price”, or they would go bankrupt treating the insurance cases. Why is it ok to charge way more than costs for the uninsured?

    Friday, September 18, 2009 at 8:34 am | Permalink

4 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] Political Irony › Politicians are protecting insurance industry … […]

  2. […] what makes their position stunningly hypocritical is the fact that even though lack of universal health care causes 45,000 extra deaths every year, you don’t see the Catholic Church vigorously advocating for universal coverage. Instead, you […]

  3. Political Irony › What are we afraid of? on Saturday, November 28, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    […] citizen, every year. No wonder we can’t afford health care, and yet lack of health insurance kills 45,000 Americans every year — more than any terrorism, war, or other military […]

  4. Political Irony › The Party of NO, now with 100% added NO on Thursday, December 3, 2009 at 12:11 am

    […] least it is now clear: if we don’t get health care reform, and people keep dying (45,000 a year) because of our horribly broken health insurance system, you know who to blame. Please Share / Save […]