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Mitt Romney revealed his cluelessness and lack of understanding for those without health insurance last week in an interview with the Columbus Dispatch, where he ignorantly purported that no one dies in America due to lack of health insurance.

“We don’t have a setting across this country where if you don’t have insurance, we just say to you, ‘Tough luck, you’re going to die when you have your heart attack,’  ” ... “No, you go to the hospital, you get treated, you get care, and it’s paid for, either by charity, the government or by the hospital. We don’t have people that become ill, who die in their apartment because they don’t have insurance.” ...

Well, The Center for Disease Control estimates that a minimum of 45,000 people die each year due to lack of health care.



Nearly 45,000 annual deaths are associated with lack of health insurance, according to a new study published online today by the American Journal of Public Health. That figure is about two and a half times higher than an estimate from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in 2002.

The study, conducted at Harvard Medical School and Cambridge Health Alliance, found that uninsured, working-age Americans have a 40 percent higher risk of death than their privately insured counterparts, up from a 25 percent excess death rate found in 1993.


This study controlled for socioeconomic, and behavioral factors as well as baseline health.

Also, a few days ago, Sanja Gupta pointed out that it is not true that hospitals and charities "pick up the tab" after uninsured people have to go to the emergency rooms. The truth is that collection agencies get these accounts and hound the poor for years, often into bankruptcy.

In his debate with President Obama, Mitt Romney falsely claimed people with pre-existing conditions could get coverage under his plan, but then his campaign issued a clarification that this was not the case, and it would be left up to states - states which under Paul Ryan's budget will have vastly less money because the Romney-Ryan Duo of Doom intends to slash their Medicaid funding.

Mitt Romney has not suggested how are states going to pay for this coverage. Why will they do it when he is president if they haven't done it already? Why will he find his reforms any easier to pass than President Obama did?  Why are more journalists not asking these kinds of substantive questions?

Yesterday, teacherken reported Paul Krugman's scathing takedown of Romney's ignorance in Paul Krugman: Death by Ideology+*. Here's a link to Paul Krugman's Death by Ideology.  

It seems bizarre to me that anyone can suggest that Mitt Romney won this debate when making such a flagrant and intentional lies. Even though this next debate is about foreign policy, I hope President Obama creates an opportunity to correct these two major Romney distortions of truth.

And, how many times can Mitt Romney prove he is totally clueless about the challenges of ordinary people before the American voters believe it?

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Comment Preferences

  •  telling lies (5+ / 0-)

    doen't cause one to lose a presidential debate unless the average low-information voter is told that they are lies. every time it happens.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Mon Oct 15, 2012 at 12:42:44 PM PDT

  •  We are the world's richest nation (7+ / 0-)

    yet we cannot (or rather choose not to) provide basic human need (healthcare) to many of our own citizens.

    That's just shameful and tragic.

    In the meantime we spend billions of dollars on war and the defense industry.

  •  "Failure to Be French" Was the Phrase Several (4+ / 0-)

    years ago for this condition.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Oct 15, 2012 at 12:47:24 PM PDT

  •  Say Biden (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rizzo

    Did you come up with an answer on Medicare eligibility age yet?  Or are we supposed to forget it is still on the grand bargaining table?  

  •  The lies have to be (4+ / 0-)

    called out at the moment they are occurring in a way that will make it obvious that Obama is the one with the truth.

    The back and forth, Yes-it's-5-trillion, No-it-isn't, This-study-says-it-is, These-studies-say-it-isn't, as well as I'll-create-more-jobs, No-I-will, is just not going to work because most people are not going to be able to evaluate who's right.

    I hope the Obama team has done some work on developing some sound bites that make it clear who's being honest here and who is lying his behind off. Unfortunately the last debate had a long series of missed opportunities on issues that will really distinguish the two in an easy to understand way (most obviously, social policy - it is really terrible that Jim Lehrer made taxes, the deficit and spending be pretty much the entirety of that debate's content) and the next two debates provide no guarantee that any of those issues are going to come up.

  •  Well, you can't get chemo at the ER. Moreover, (5+ / 0-)

    who is Mitt trying to please by saying that the ER is going to be treating all the people who refuse to buy insurance?   As a taxpayer, I'm not HAPPY that Mitt is telling people to wait until they are at death's door, then show up at the emergency room; I like Pre Flip flop Mitt's reasoning that personal responsibility means that a person who can should be in a position to pay for insurance that saves sticking us with teh ER tab.

    "The one big advantage to being a boring candidate is that you give the appearance of calm and stability. But, suddenly, Romney seemed to want to go for a piquant mélange of dull and hotheaded."-- Gail Collins

    by Inland on Mon Oct 15, 2012 at 12:53:23 PM PDT

  •  let's just hope Obama brings this (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, Prosediva, ExStr8, kareylou

    up at the debate tomorrow.


    "A squid eating dough in a polyethylene bag is fast and bulbous..........got me?" - Don Van Vliet

    by AlyoshaKaramazov on Mon Oct 15, 2012 at 12:57:35 PM PDT

  •  I guess a counterargument might be that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blue91

    twice as many deaths are caused BY health care

    just saying, you'd hope that they'd be able to come up with a bigger number than that . . ..

    •  Not sure that is a counterargument (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Roadbed Guy, FloridaSNMOM

      There are a few large missing numbers here.

      A: number of lives saved by health care in a year (by far the biggest number)
      B: number of deaths in which medical care, although attempted, could not save the patient
      C: lives lost due to medical errors
      D: lives lost due to lack of health care

      Even if the lack of health care deaths went to zero because everyone had fantastic access to care, and even if we improve health care by a lot, there are always going to be medical errors (although hospitals are trying to systematically reduce them). Just because those errors occur doesn't mean we shouldn't worry about those who don't have access to care.

      •  It's like burning coal for energy (1+ / 0-)

        some claim that that causes 3 million deaths per year.

        That's undoubtably true.

        Others claim that the cheap energy obtained therefrom allows 3 or 4 billion humans to exist that otherwise wouldn't (in part through powering hospitals that overall save lives, as I believe you are pointing out . .. ).

        That's also most likely true.

        I suppose the take home message totally depends on whether one is an optimist or a pessimist . ..

        •  True (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Roadbed Guy, kareylou

          I suppose you are always going to have both.

          (a) Did not seek medical care and died; might have lived if they had received care.
          (b) Sought medical care, there was an error and died; might have lived if they had not sought care.

          Both are worth being concerned about, but (a) is inherently a social justice and political issue, while (b) is an issue of health care quality and practice and is not as related to policy or politics.

  •  He "won" the debate because he looked like he (0+ / 0-)

    knew what he was talking about (and believe me the rightwingers don't think they were lies) which made him look good, and he was aggressive, which made him look great.  I think I need to write a book now that I'm living with my rightwing sister and her boyfriend - A-Z on Rightwingers.  There are lots of surprises.  The stupidity and preferred ignorance are stunning.

    "They love the founding fathers so much they will destroy everything they created and remake it in Rush Limbaughs image." MinistryofTruth, 9/29/11

    by AnnieR on Mon Oct 15, 2012 at 01:34:45 PM PDT

  •  The article you linked to is dated Sept 2009, (1+ / 0-)

    over three years ago. I mention that because the most recent figure I heard was 26,000+ a year from a study that was covered by Reuters in June of 2012.

    The study was done by Families USA, who appear to support ACA:

    Families USA Executive Director Ron Pollack said the group released the study to illustrate the potential human toll behind a high court ruling that could overturn the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act by the end of next week.
    Reading both articles, it looks like the difference is here:
    2009 Report:
    The study, conducted at Harvard Medical School and Cambridge Health Alliance, found that uninsured, working-age Americans have a 40 percent higher risk of death than their privately insured counterparts, up from a 25 percent excess death rate found in 1993.
    Reuters 2012:
    The nonprofit group based its findings on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and a 2002 Institute of Medicine study that showed the uninsured face a 25 percent higher risk of death than those with coverage.
    So the Families USA study was done using an older percentage which has apparently increased.

    Stuff like this is important to know because 26,000, although still profane, is a lot less than 45,000. We need to be armed with the knowledge of why the current figure is so much lower.

    "I cannot live without books" -- Thomas Jefferson, 1815

    by Susan Grigsby on Mon Oct 15, 2012 at 01:35:13 PM PDT

    •  It is hard (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Susan from 29

      to tell based on these two articles, but it looks to me like the differing figures are probably based on two different methodologies. The 26,000 looks like a meta-analysis of several studies ("based on thousands of scientific studies analyzed as part of a multi-year effort") while the Families USA one is a mortality followback of CDC health surveys.

      •  Families USA came up with the 26,000 number, and (1+ / 0-)

        I think they were using an older percentage.

        As a matter of fact, I have since found this Forbes article from June 2012, New Estimate On Deaths Among Uninsured Is Actually 19 Years Old which clarifies it.

        "I cannot live without books" -- Thomas Jefferson, 1815

        by Susan Grigsby on Mon Oct 15, 2012 at 01:54:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Interesting (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Susan from 29

          (I have worked in a related area.)

          This is actually a harder thing to quantify than it seems like it should be. The Forbes article comments -

          We should have data collection systems in place to answer questions about how health care is performing. This should translate into more transparency, so that voters and consumers can find out how well the system is doing. Instead, we tend not to track data about the health care system, and to keep it completely siloed. And then we wonder why the system doesn’t work.
          I guess I have two thoughts about this -
          a) Data systems to track health care outcomes exist, but they typically exist within the system of care (for example, hospital discharge data). Those who don't get care aren't going to end up in the data system, so it's hard to follow them. The mortality followback of the surveys is an improvement but even with that there is a difference between respondents and nonrespondents - the nonrespondents tend to do more poorly and they aren't in your system.
          b) We sort of do have data collection systems in place on quality of care. I have seen this type of measure reported by hospital. For example, California's OSHPD data set has reports that do this. But whether they are widely disseminated is another question. For one thing, it's very complicated though for consumers to follow. For example, we have regionalization of complications: people who have more severe conditions tend to be transferred from a lower level to a higher level hospital. They are also more likely to die than somebody who is healthy enough not to be transferred. Thus, if you don't do a lot of complicated adjustments, it can appear that the high-level hospital has much worse outcomes than the lower-level hospital, because they automatically get all the sickest patients. Plus, the higher-level hospitals are often also the public hospitals, who are the setting that sees the uninsured and those with poor insurance coverage and often those in the poorest health. So it is really much more difficult to compare outcomes and quality of care than it seems like it ought to be.
  •  I have some friends in Oklahoma who (0+ / 0-)

    watched the debate between Obama and Romney. Later, one of them told me that Romney seemed like a very smart man who knew what he was talking about.

    I know these folks very well, and I have known them for a very long time, but I still have no idea what is in their brains. Their hatred of Obama and all the rest they think seems almost pathological to me. There is no reasoning with them. I don't even try.

    They are faithful followers of Fox News and Bill O'Reilly is a god to them.

    Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

    by hestal on Mon Oct 15, 2012 at 01:54:12 PM PDT

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