A Harvard study, to be published next month in the American Journal of Public Health, suggests that almost 45,000 Americans die prematurely each year as a consequence of not having insurance.That's from Nicholas Kristof's Op-Ed in today's NYT, Are We Going to Let John Die? The study he mentions doesn't include the unnecessary pain, fear and suffering of many thousands of other people. Kristof writes of a heartbreaking case in Oregon that involves not only excruciating 24/7 pain but may well result in one of those premature deaths due to lack of insurance coverage. His column begins this way:
If Joe Lieberman or other senators came across John Brodniak writhing in pain on the sidewalk, they presumably would jump to help him and rush him to a hospital.Read John's story at the link. It will break your heart, and you'd have to have a heart of stone not to wonder how this could happen in the richest country in the world. We like to think of ourselves as advanced, but we still practice human sacrifice. How can we sacrifice so many lives each year on the altar of some kind of free-market ideology?
Unfortunately, an emergency room won’t help — indeed, the closest E.R. has told him not to come back, he says. So, for those members of Congress who are wavering on health reform, listen to John’s story.