Opponents of policies designed to achieve universal health care coverage inevitably raise the bogeyman of “socialized medicine.” They peddle stories of patients in Canada, Western Europe or Japan who are denied critical care by government-run systems, even as these countries produce better health care outcomes (life expectancy, infant mortality rates, etc.) than the United States.(emphasis mine)
Well, here’s news: The United States is hardly innocent when it comes to denying life-saving care.
Researchers from the American Cancer Society discovered that uninsured cancer patients are nearly twice as likely to die within five years as those with private coverage. Thirty-five percent of uninsured cancer victims died within five years, compared to 23 percent of privately insured patients.
Much of the health care debate is technical and complicated, but the moral issue is not -- it all comes down to whether everyone should have access to quality health care regardless of ability to pay. In the United States, millions don’t get the health care they need because of a privately delivered system that lets them fall through the cracks. To those who oppose plans for universal coverage, the question is simple: Do you even care?
Read it all here.
Here is the MSNBC coverage of the cancer numbers:
Uninsured cancer patients are nearly twice as likely to die within five years as those with private coverage, according to the first national study of its kind and one that sheds light on troubling health care obstacles.
The new research is being published in Cancer, the cancer society’s medical journal. In an accompanying editorial, the society’s president repeated the organization’s call for action to fix holes in the health care safety net.
“The truth is that our national reluctance to face these facts is condemning thousands of people to die from cancer each year,” Dr. Elmer Huerta wrote.
They found those who were uninsured were 1.6 times more likely to die in five years than those with private insurance.
More specifically, 35 percent of uninsured patients had died at the end of five years, compared with 23 percent of privately insured patients.