Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) shocked and offended congress watchers when he announced, in a Tuesday speech, that Republicans want people to either not get sick or else die quickly. He has refused to apologize for the comment, and indeed added that he will only apologize to the 44,000 Americans who die each year because of a lack of health insurance.
As a skeptic, the Czar perks up when he hears specific numbers thrown out to justify outrageous comments. Is it true that 44,000 people die each year because they lack health insurance?
The source of the number is a research paper published in the American Journal of Public Health entitled Health Insurance and Mortality in US Adults (AJPH, Dec 2009, 99:12).
The authors content that 46 million Americans lack health coverage, according to a 2007 Census Bureau study. They then used a study that provided detailed insurance information on healthcare recipients to determine what percentage of the total number definitely lacked insurance, and then simply identified the number of those people who died without healthcare insurance. Taking that percentage and then extrapolating it for 46 million, the wound up with the number 44,789. Why it was that easy, and they did it only seven pages with a lot of tables! Ergo, the lack of health insurance kills 44,789 people each year.
Full stop. The authors conclude only one thing: that people without health insurance tend to die more often than those with health insurance. With that the Czar agrees, but the cause is simple enough: those who lack health insurance tend not to get treatments. Maybe they just do not want taxpayers to bear their financial burdens?
Here is another fact. People with health care insurance also die. In fact, they die in greater numbers. Rep. Grayson fails to apologize to the 2,371,878 folks who die with insurance each year.
Another consideration is whether there are 47,000 Americans who are not insured. The number, for whatever it is worth, may be correct. But many Americans choose not to have insurance for a variety of reasons. Some are denied for legitimate reasons. Some are covered under other plans. Some are not Americans and should not be counted. Frankly, the only number that matters is the number of legal Americans who cannot get insurance…people who could be saved if only they could be insured.
this one) put the numbers at 1.4 million…meaning that 44.6 million uninsured Americans could be insured or could get coverage, but just arent.The insurance industry knows all about this, and refers to them as the Uninsurable. How many uninsurable Americans are there? Recent numbers are all over the place, ranging from twenty million to 56 million (yeah, somehow the number of uninsurable Americans exceeds those without insurance). Actual insurance industry surveys (such as
So if we interpolate the original studys computation to conclude that 0.1% of people without insurance die because of it, we wind up with only 1,393 people dying each year who might somehow have been saved.
Even one death is indeed a tragic number. But to provide a sense of scale, and to see how ridiculous using this type of statistical extrapolation for political purposes is, thats almost exactly the same number of people who die of heart disease each day in America. We could save 365 times more Americans, perhaps, by giving $900 billion to heart research.
More people drown falling into water outdoors each year. More people die each year accidentally taking antiepileptic, sedative-hypnotic, antiparkinsonism, and psychotropic drugs. Where is the moral outrage against lakes, streams, and L-DOPA? There obviously will not be any because this small number of deaths each year is comparatively minor.
So Rep. Grayson accuses his critics of using scare tactics. We would be more inclined to dismiss charges of hypocrisy against him if he could, perhaps, provide a list of 44,789 legal Americans who died this year because they lacked health insurance. It is a lot tougher to extrapolate actual
Then, we have to ask what they died from. It probably was not a lack of insurance, but a disease, illness, or other sickness. And it is the subject of a future study to see whether those percentages match insured American deaths within a statistical margin of error. What do you think the result will be?
Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.