Harvard says: 45,000 deaths a year in the US because of lack of health insurance

Posted: February 7, 2012 in Political musings
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Mother and baby

The richest country in the world ...

As the follow Reuters report shows, the Obama scheme to provide a wider range of healthcare options for Americans is desperately needed.


Let us hope the White House is watching, and serves this report up to the Republicans long, loud and often during the coming election. After all, Harvard is about as good as academia gets. These are the facts, no matter what political spin the GOP chooses to put on it.

Only the right in America could possibly think the private health system there actually works. For the richest country in the world to see families ripped apart through lack of adequate health insurance and poverty is a disgrace. A simple disgrace.

Obama deserve re-election if for no other reason than he showed the political will to tackle the issue against huge odds, no matter how flawed his scheme.

Oh, and any Republican readers who are about to rail at me because Obamacare forces them into a public scheme and away from their existing treasured private health insurance? Er, no. It doesn’t. Stop lying.

Let’s just rehearse a few facts. Although statistics vary, somewhere between 40 and 50 million people in America have no health insurance.

And if they are really, really unlucky, they’re homeless, too.

According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, there were 643,067 sheltered and un-sheltered homeless persons nationwide as of January 2009. Additionally, about 1.56 million people used an emergency shelter or a transitional housing program during the 12-month period between October 1, 2008 and September 30, 2009. This number suggests that roughly 1 in every 200 persons in the US used the shelter system at some point in that period.

1 in 200. The greatest country in the world? Cut the crap, America, and get it sorted. How we look after the weakest and poorest in our society is a measure of how great we are. As things stand, your society stinks to high heaven.

And that’s from a fan.

  1. Richard Ember says:

    Their system is a system set up for Americans by Americans. As a non-American, they would probably say ‘if you don’t like it, don’t come.’ It is not exactly a secret. It is not as though they had a better system that they recently cancelled in favour of the current one.

    I presume people there are happy not to pay the NI Contributions and accept the benefit from the lower levels of taxation there; it therefore gives them scope to pay Health Insurance as a choice. I want to see people taking responsibility for themselves and would like Govt OUT of peoples’ lives.

    I am all for helping the elderly and those, for whatever reason, who are unable to look after themselves through some impairment. And I happen to know there are systems in place in the USA that do just that.

    Maybe their system is a way of keeping the gene pool strong; I dunno. I am not an apologist for the US System but I also know that they would probably be fairly uninterested in the opinions of an Englishman and an Australian so I am not going to waste too much time on it. For now.


    • I have never agreed with the idea that the nation state is beyond criticism from outside, Richard. On that basis we would have said to Hitler “Good idea getting rid of all those pesky Jews, communists, homosexuals, the mentally impaired and gypsies”. It also presumes that a country has access to all the ideas, suggestions, morals, opinions and so forth that it needs to make a considered judgement. One of the less known things about America is that it is actually one of the most insular countries in the world. Over 98% of the images they see on their TV screens are generated inside America. Many of their residents never travel outside their state, let alone overseas. Why shouldn’t those with a better health system – the Australian one costs less than the American one and is widely regarded as one of the best in the world – give them some kindly meant advice?

      In any event, the fact is the American system of caring for their less advantaged is an affront in a country supposedly dedicated to decency and universal rights. The needs of their poor should concern us all – just as the needs of the poor anywhere should. The fact that they continually trumpet (without qualification) that they are the “best country in the world” merely draws friendly fire. I happen to be a huge fan of America, I am just not an uncritical fan.

      Thanks, as always, for commenting!


      • Richard Ember says:

        I am not sure they care about what you agree with, Yolly. As I said, they will probably suggest you don’t go if you don’t like it.

        I am not against a national Healthcare plan; I just don’t see it as my business to tell another country what they should be doing on internal matters.


        • >I just don’t see it as my business to tell another country what they should be doing on internal matters.

          Yes, I understand your point, Richard. What you fail to explain is WHY. What is this antiquated obsession with the nation state?


  2. Richard Ember says:

    Because there are enough problems in my own back yard, road, area, city, county and country without me having to go poking my nose in and puffing away about how other people should be doing their own internal business.

    I leave you a couple of quotes from Americans (you know, people that ‘live’ there).
    “Welfare’s purpose should be to eliminate, as far as possible, the need for its own existence.” Ronald Reagan1970

    “Actually what I hate about Governmental control is the stupidity it generates. For example, I really do believe helpless children, who don’t have parents to fend for them should receive all the medical care they need. and also those who really cannot fend for themselves…like cripples, blind and deaf, …. But what we have are children who do not get medical attention until they are taken from their no-account parents, and perfectly healthy 2nd and 3rd generation government dole freeloaders who know how to “work” the system getting all the health benefits they want, plus grants, plus welfare, and who knows what else? I agree with Thomas Paine that said, “the government which governs least, governs best.”
    T. Paine was one of the founders. He wrote a book that was a huge success which stirred the nation to fight for independance. The book was named COMMON SENSE. Published in 1776. (I am sure some of us remember about that fateful year.)” My mother-in-law. 2012

    Mate, they think and act differently to us. Don’t apply your thinking to them. And as I always say, if you really don’t like it, (i) don’t go there and (ii) don’t buy anything American. Vote with your money – your mouth (or fingers) won’t change anything.


    • I am sorry, Dickie, you will never convince me with that isolationist nonsense. America, like all countries, both needs and deserves plenty of input from everywhere else. And I disagree that Americans are somehow “utterly” different to us. Different, yes. Of course, they are a unique nation. I nevertheless reserve my right to apply commonsense thinking to anyone I damn well please. Only by a free flow of ideas across borders can the world grow, evolve and improve. ALL borders: they are not exempt nor should they be.

      Why focus so much on America? Because it is the most important social experiment in the history of the world. And like all experiments, it frequently fucks up. And also because those fuck ups frequently affect us. Global financial crisis – hello?


    • I also look forward to you desisting from commenting on the Greeks, Spaniards, Italians and French, based on your rules.

      Oh hang on, Britain’s in the EC, so that gives you rights to be rude about their spending profligacy?

      Well, I live in the world, and when Wall Street behaves like a bunch of unregulated mini-tyrants with the fiscal responsibility of an intoxicated two year old, then MY world gets affected, and I comment on it, as is my right.

      You will, of course, duck your responsibility to answer this point, which squashes your argument entirely.


  3. Richard Ember says:

    Apply your thinking wherever you want. Don’t be too deflated when foreign countries don’t act though.

    I would have really thought there were more than enough problems in Melbourne to concern you, anyhow. Or have you solved all of them?


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