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Some of our ever ready to compromise friends have accused single payer advocates of being spoilers who would put the best in place of the politically feasible. Needless to say this was never true, and as always the real problem are conservative Democrats. Earlier it was corporate hacks masquerading as fiscal conservatives (aka: Blue Dogs) and now moving to the publicize foreffront are those conservative Democrats opposed to even indirect support of abortion rights and the possiblity of choice.

Of course if they were REALLY Pro-Life, then they would be in the forefront of supporting real universal health care access.

May I remind them that lack of health insurance KILLS.
Despite what the ignorant or partisan or paid for like claim Emergency Rooms and charity care is not a substitue for having real coverage.  Whether it was the Institute of Medicine Study that found 18,000 death per year, the Urban Institute Study that found 22,000 deaths per year, or the Harvard study that found 45,000 death per year associated with lack of insurance coverage, the fact is that if you are REALLY PRO-LIFE you would support universal health care coverage and access

Abortion remains legal in the United States. Putting aside what the pathetic Senate did in confirming right wing extremists to the supreme court in recent years, nothing Congress does this year or next will make a difference in that.

Meanwhile the already mediocre to awful legislation they are opposing already has obnoxoiious anti-abortion language in it. Imagine if they actually cared about this, then they would support increased access to health education including sexual education and contraception.

The older studies found that there are about 22,000 deaths per year due to lack of health insurance.  There are 11 million Americans with chronic physical illnesses like heart disease, diabetes and asthma are not getting the medical care they need because they don’t have health insurance.  The uninsured have higher rates of stroke and cardiovascular disease deaths.  The American Cancer Society found that uninsured cancer patients are nearly twice as likely to die within five years as those with private coverage.  

But those numbers always seemd to low.  

In international comparisons, the United States has the highest rate of so-called "amenable" mortality among 19 OECD countries; that's 101,000 fewer deaths per year if we were as good as the average of the top three.

Which is why when the most recent study, by some Harvard researchers (full disclosure: who are also PNHP leaders and single payer supporters) using national standard CDC NHANES data, found that the number is more like 45,000 it was NOT surprising and was published in a leading academic peer reviewed journal (full text .pdf of the article is here). To those of us paying attention this is not news, I reported it here back in September.

And here are the number of excess deaths by State:

excess deaths due to lack of insurance by State

As was explained at the time

The study, which analyzed data from national surveys carried out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), assessed death rates after taking education, income and many other factors including smoking, drinking and obesity into account. It estimated that lack of health insurance causes 44,789 excess deaths annually.

Previous estimates from the IOM and others had put that figure near 18,000. The methods used in the current study were similar to those employed by the IOM in 2002, which in turn were based on a pioneering 1993 study of health insurance and mortality.

Deaths associated with lack of health insurance now exceed those caused by many common killers such as kidney disease.

An increase in the number of uninsured and an eroding medical safety net for the disadvantaged likely explain the substantial increase in the number of deaths associated with lack of insurance. The uninsured are more likely to go without needed care.

Another factor contributing to the widening gap in the risk of death between those who have insurance and those who don't is the improved quality of care for those who can get it.

The research, carried out at the Cambridge Health Alliance and Harvard Medical School, analyzed U.S. adults under age 65 who participated in the annual National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) between 1986 and 1994. Respondents first answered detailed questions about their socioeconomic status and health and were then examined by physicians. The CDC tracked study participants to see who died by 2000.

The study found a 40 percent increased risk of death among the uninsured. As expected, death rates were also higher for males (37 percent increase), current or former smokers (102 percent and 42 percent increases), people who said that their health was fair or poor (126 percent increase), and those that examining physicians said were in fair or poor health (222 percent increase).

Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, study co-author, professor of medicine at Harvard and a primary care physician in Cambridge, Mass., noted: "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."

She added: "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."

Dr. David Himmelstein, study co-author and an associate professor of medicine at Harvard, remarked, "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."

So if you are really pro-life, then get on board and support real universal health coverage.

Originally posted to DrSteveB on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 07:50 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Well said, indeed, DrSteveB (8+ / 0-)

    (I really admire that in a man.)

    If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

    by marykk on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 07:55:28 PM PST

    •  Only way to get affordability is to start fresh (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hens Teeth

      The deals they made are clearly poison to affordability..

      We've had our fake debate..

      Better to have the actual debate in an election year.

      I can see why they are SO afraid of that!

      Electoral System Reform NOW - Instant Runoff Voting Means A Progressive WH by 2016!

      by Andiamo on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 11:31:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  1.2 million abortions. Per year. (0+ / 0-)

    1.2 million.

    "It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses." - CS Lewis, Weight of Glory

    by Benintn on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 07:56:08 PM PST

    •  but it is bunk that the House bill (9+ / 0-)

      changes those numbers. one way or the other.
      it is just posturing and corporate dem cover bunkum.

      p.s. I wish that the bill did increase access to abortion services. Alas, it already does not.

    •  Is there a point there? (9+ / 0-)

      Just wondering.

      Certainly from our standpoint, this gives us a sense of momentum -- when the United States has accolades tossed its way, rather than shoes. - PJ Crowley

      by nsfbr on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 08:04:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ever seen the poodwadde clock ? (7+ / 0-)

      "Wind is a total waste of money." davidwalters Oct 4 09

      by indycam on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 08:04:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Facts on induced Abortion (16+ / 0-)

      Facts on induced Abortion... if you are intersted in a more complete picture.

      • Nearly half of pregnancies among American women are unintended, and four in 10 of these are terminated by abortion.[1] Twenty-two percent of all pregnancies (excluding miscarriages) end in abortion.[2]

      • Forty percent of pregnancies among white women, 69% among blacks and 54% among Hispanics are unintended.

      • In 2005, 1.21 million abortions were performed, down from 1.31 million in 2000. From 1973 through 2005, more than 45 million legal abortions occurred.[2]

      • Each year, about two percent of women aged 15-44 have an abortion; 47% of them have had at least one previous abortion.[3]

      Number of abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44, by year

      • At least half of American women will experience an unintended pregnancy by age 45[4], and, at current rates, about one-third will have had an abortion.[5,6]

      • Fifty percent of U.S. women obtaining abortions are younger than 25: Women aged 20–24 obtain 33% of all abortions, and teenagers obtain 17%.[7]

      • Thirty-seven percent of abortions occur to black women, 34% to non-Hispanic white women, 22% to Hispanic women and 8% to women of other races.**

      • Forty-three percent of women obtaining abortions identify themselves as Protestant, and 27% as Catholic.[3]

      • Women who have never married obtain two-thirds of all abortions.[3]

      • About 60% of abortions are obtained by women who have one or more children.[7]

      • The abortion rate among women living below the federal poverty level ($9,570 for a single woman with no children) is more than four times that of women above 300% of the poverty level (44 vs. 10 abortions per 1,000 women). This is partly because the rate of unintended pregnancies among poor women (below 100% of poverty) is nearly four times that of women above 200% of poverty* (112 vs. 29 per 1,000 women[3,1]

      • The reasons women give for having an abortion underscore their understanding of the responsibilities of parenthood and family life. Three-fourths of women cite concern for or responsibility to other individuals; three-fourths say they cannot afford a child; three-fourths say that having a baby would interfere with work, school or the ability to care for dependents; and half say they do not want to be a single parent or are having problems with their husband or partner.[8]

      • Fifty-four percent of women who have abortions had used a contraceptive method (usually the condom or the pill) during the month they became pregnant. Among those women, 76% of pill users and 49% of condom users report having used their method inconsistently, while 13% of pill users and 14% of condom users report correct use.[9]

      • Forty-six percent of women who have abortions had not used a contraceptive method during the month they became pregnant. Of these women, 33% had perceived themselves to be at low risk for pregnancy, 32% had had concerns about contraceptive methods, 26% had had unexpected sex and 1% had been forced to have sex.[9]

      • Eight percent of women who have abortions have never used a method of birth control; nonuse is greatest among those who are young, poor, black, Hispanic or less educated.[9]

      • About half of unintended pregnancies occur among the 11% of women who are at risk for unintended pregnancy but are not using contraceptives. Most of these women have practiced contraception in the past.[1,10]

      • The number of U.S. abortion providers declined by 2% between 2000 and 2005 (from 1,819 to 1,787). Eighty-seven percent of all U.S. counties lacked an abortion provider in 2005; 35% of women live in those counties.[2]

      • Forty percent of providers offer very early abortions (even before the first missed period) and 96% offer abortion at eight weeks from the last menstrual period. Sixty-seven percent of providers offer at least some second-trimester abortion services (13 weeks or later), and 20% offer abortion after 20 weeks. Only 8% of all abortion providers offer abortions at 24 weeks.[2]

      • The proportion of providers offering abortion at four or fewer weeks’ gestation increased from 7% in 1993 to 40% in 2005.[11]

      • In 2005, the cost of a nonhospital abortion with local anesthesia at 10 weeks’ gestation ranged from $90 to $1,800; the average amount paid was $413.[2]

      When women have abortions (in weeks from the last menstrual period)
      Eighty-nine percent of abortions occur in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, 2004.

      • In September 2000, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the abortion drug mifepristone to be marketed in the United States as an alternative to surgical abortion.

      • In 2005, 57% of abortion providers, or 1,026 facilities, provided one or more medication abortions, a 70% increase from the first half of 2001. At least 10% of nonhospital abortion providers offer only medication abortion services.[2]

      • Medication abortion accounted for 13% of all abortions, and 22% of abortions before nine weeks’ gestation, in 2005.[2]

      • The risk of abortion complications is minimal: Fewer than 0.3% of abortion patients experience a complication that requires hospitalization.[12]

      • Abortions performed in the first trimester pose virtually no long-term risk of such problems as infertility, ectopic pregnancy, spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) or birth defect, and little or no risk of preterm or low-birth-weight deliveries.[13]

      • Exhaustive reviews by panels convened by the U.S. and British governments have concluded that there is no association between abortion and breast cancer. There is also no indication that abortion is a risk factor for other cancers.[13]

      • In repeated studies since the early 1980s, leading experts have concluded that abortion does not pose a hazard to women’s mental health.[14]

      • The risk of death associated with abortion increases with the length of pregnancy, from one death for every one million abortions at or before eight weeks to one per 29,000 at 16–20 weeks—and one per 11,000 at 21 or more weeks.[15]

      • Fifty-eight percent of abortion patients say they would have liked to have had their abortion earlier. Nearly 60% of women who experienced a delay in obtaining an abortion cite the time it took to make arrangements and raise money.[16]

      • Teens are more likely than older women to delay having an abortion until after 15 weeks of pregnancy, when the medical risks associated with abortion are significantly higher.[17 ]

      • In the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, the Supreme Court ruled that women, in consultation with their physician, have a constitutionally protected right to have an abortion in the early stages of pregnancy—that is, before viability—free from government interference.

      • In 1992, the Court reaffirmed the right to abortion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. However, the ruling significantly weakened the legal protections previously afforded women and physicians by giving states the right to enact restrictions that do not create an "undue burden" for women seeking abortion.

      • Thirty-five states currently enforce parental consent or notification laws for minors seeking an abortion. The Supreme Court ruled that minors must have an alternative to parental involvement, such as the ability to seek a court order authorizing the procedure.[18]

      • Even without specific parental involvement laws, six in 10 minors who have an abortion report that at least one parent knew about it.[19]

      • Congress has barred the use of federal Medicaid funds to pay for abortions, except when the woman’s life would be endangered by a full-term pregnancy or in cases of rape or incest.

      • Seventeen states use public funds to pay for abortions for some poor women, but only four do so voluntarily; the rest do so under a court order.[20] About 13% of all abortions in the United States are paid for with public funds[21] (virtually all from state governments).[22]

      • Family planning clinics funded under Title X of the federal Public Health Service Act have helped women prevent 20 million unintended pregnancies during the last 20 years. An estimated nine million of these pregnancies would have ended in abortion.[23]


      1. Finer LB and Henshaw SK, Disparities in rates of unintended pregnancy in the United States, 1994 and 2001, Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 2006, 38(2):90–96.
      1. Jones RK et al., Abortion in the United States: incidence and access to services, 2005, Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 2008, 40(1):6–16.
      1. Jones RK, Darroch JE and Henshaw SK, Patterns in the socioeconomic characteristics of women obtaining abortions in 2000–2001, Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 2002, 34(5):226–235.
      1. Jones RK et al., Repeat abortion in the United States, Occasional Report, New York: Guttmacher Institute, 2006, No. 29.
      1. Henshaw SK, Unintended pregnancy in the United States, Family Planning Perspectives, 1998, 30(1):24–29 & 46.
      1. Guttmacher Institute, State facts about abortion: New York, 2006, <>, accessed Oct. 31, 2007.
      1. Distributions published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adjusted for year-to-year changes in the reporting states and applied to the total number of abortions in Jones RK et al., Abortion in the United States: Incidence and access to services, 2005, Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 2008, 40(1):6-16.
      1. Finer LB et al., Reasons U.S. women have abortions: quantitative and qualitative perspectives, Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 2005, 37(3):110–118.
      1. Jones RK, Darroch JE and Henshaw SK, Contraceptive use among U.S. women having abortions in 2000–2001, Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 2002, 34(6):294–303.
      1. Mosher WD et al., Use of contraception and use of family planning services in the United States: 1982–2002, Advance Data from Vital and Health Statistics, 2004, No. 350.
      1. Henshaw SK, Factors hindering access to abortion services, Family Planning Perspectives, 1995, 27(2):54-59,87.
      1. Henshaw SK, Unintended pregnancy and abortion: a public health perspective, in: Paul M et al., eds., A Clinician’s Guide to Medical and Surgical Abortion, New York: Churchill Livingstone, 1999, pp. 11–22.
      1. Boonstra HD et al., Abortion in Women’s Lives, New York: Guttmacher Institute, 2006.
      1. Adler NE et al., Psychological responses after abortion, Science, 1990, 248(4951):41–44; and Gilchrist AC, Termination of pregnancy and psychiatric morbidity, British Journal of Psychiatry, 1995, 167(2):243–248.
      1. Bartlett LA et al., Risk factors for legal induced abortion-related mortality in the United States, Obstetrics & Gynecology, 2004, 103(4):729–737.
      1. Finer LB et al., Timing of steps and reasons for delays in obtaining abortions in the United States, Contraception, 2006, 74(4):334–344.
      1. Strauss LT et al., Abortion surveillance—United States, 2004, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 2007, Vol. 56, No. SS-9.
      1. Guttmacher Institute, Parental involvement in minors’ abortions, State Policies in Brief, 2007, <>, accessed Oct. 31, 2007.
      1. Henshaw SK and Kost K, Parental involvement in minors’ abortion decisions, Family Planning Perspectives, 1992, 24(5):196–207 & 213.
      1. Guttmacher Institute, State funding of abortion under Medicaid, State Policies in Brief, 2007, <>, accessed Oct. 31, 2007.
      1. Henshaw SK and Finer LB, The accessibility of abortion services in the United States, 2001, Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 2003, 35(1):16–24.
      1. Sonfield A, Alrich C and Gold RB, Public Funding for Family Planning, Sterilization and Abortion Services, FY 1980–2006, Occasional Report, New York: Guttmacher Institute, 2008, No. 38.
      1. Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI), Fulfilling the Promise: Public Policy and U.S. Family Planning Clinics, New York: AGI, 2000.
    •  GOP - pro life only before birth (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Alexandra Lynch, Hens Teeth

      Most anti-abortion advocates don't care about preserving life after birth. They don't advocate for universal health care, for public education and adequate nutrition for ALL children. They don't advocate for family and maternal and paternal PAID leave during last months of pregnancy and first months after childbirth or adoption. They don't advocate for a living family wage, unemployment and income supports for those who are out of work. They are against public funding of childcare for working parents.

      They are often pro-gun, anti-gun laws, pro-war, pro-death penalty.

      The anti-abortion folks are actually pro-violence and anti-life.

      So get off the morality high-horse and look at the reality on the ground.

      It is simply self-defeating for any community to discriminate against half its population. Jimmy Carter

      by coral on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 09:51:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  US is a net exporter of white infants (0+ / 0-)

        When they say "pro life" they really mean pro-MONEY, as church-based brokers make typically $40k per adoption brokered.

        The baby selling business is huge and they don't want any interruption in supply due to poor women affording to keep their children.

        The US is a net exporter of white infants to the rich around the world.

        Electoral System Reform NOW - Instant Runoff Voting Means A Progressive WH by 2016!

        by Andiamo on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 11:35:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  may we assume that your point is (0+ / 0-)

      that 1.2 million fetuses is a larger number than 45,000 people.

  •  I will take a wild ass guess and say , (12+ / 0-)

    people who might abort without health care insurance ,
    might not if they had some good health care insurance .
    A person who could not afford to pay for all the doctor and hospital bills ...
    So maybe Pro lifers should be pushing hard for UHC .

    "Wind is a total waste of money." davidwalters Oct 4 09

    by indycam on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 08:10:38 PM PST

  •  I noticed that my state is near the top. (5+ / 0-)

    How surprising. Actually, I thought we were number one for uninsured so I'm pleasantly surprised to find we've dropped to three or four.

    I blog on healthcare issues for Tikkun Daily as Lauren Reichelt.

    by TheFatLadySings on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 08:39:37 PM PST

  •  Of course supporting real reform (0+ / 0-)

    is essential, but the movement among some progressives to oppose the existing bills is questionable.  I believe that a failure to pass a health reform bill will be crippling to the Obama administration's efforts in a huge variety of other areas where they have been even more progressive.

    Angry though I am by the inadequacy of the current reform efforts I will support almost anything passed by the House and Senate.

    Dr. Aaron Roland is a family physician in Burlingame, CA. Follow him on Twitter @doctoraaron

    by doctoraaron on Wed Nov 04, 2009 at 10:04:40 PM PST

    •  for better or worse (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tegrat, Hens Teeth

      the stronger progressives including Kucinich et al who are single payer supporters will at the end of the day not allow their votes to be deciding against. Some did the same around Medicaid and SCHIP expansion.... and in the end voted for.

      The only folks who will really block it are the conservadems and antichoicedems, not the DFHsinglepayerdems.

      •  They're Pro-Make-Abortion-Illegal, not Pro-Life (0+ / 0-)

        Is the goal to stop abortions? Or to make abortion illegal?

        It's bad enough that they don't seem to care about life after birth. But they never stop to think about their ultimate goal.

        No wonder Umbert is still unborn after all these years.

        Medicare for All. End Age Discrimination.

        by Hens Teeth on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 09:50:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  nice diary (3+ / 0-)

    It's incredible that the same people who say they are pro-life fight effective health care reform because they want to protect wanton profiteering.

    The hypocrisy is galling.

    If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never has and never will be. Thomas Jefferson

    by JDWolverton on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 06:50:49 AM PST

  •  It is the real Pro-Life position. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hens Teeth

    Medicare for all is the best way to do it but if it isn't universal it is not solving anything.

    ePluribus Media
    Collaboration is contagious!

    by m16eib on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 10:52:39 AM PST

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