July 3rd, 2009

Dying Poor & Uninsured in America


The Institute of Medicine and the Urban Institute produced a report last year that tracked deaths attributable to being uninsured in America. In the latest year surveyed (2006) 22, 211 people died. Also we know that being underinsured can prevent getting life-saving treatment for diseases that insurers refuse to cover.

Recall the fact reported in a story at this website that 62% of all individual bankruptcies by Americans were due to medical costs that overwhelmed families. In other words, while Congress plays political games with health care reform, and the president refuses to design a new system “from scratch,” people are DYING. Underinsurance or the lack of insurance compounds the problems of bullied individuals driven from their jobs. Just when they are the sickest, they cannot get much-needed care. This is an unconscionable uniquely American disgrace.

Compounding the problem is that the poor are sliding into even greater depths of poverty. Barbara Ehrenreich wrote in her blog (and published in the NY Times on 6/14/09) the rate of blue collar unemployment is 3 times higher than the white collar variety.

People are doubling and tripling up and couch-renting after losing their houses. The overcrowding may be causing a spike in domestic violence. Women are turning to stripping. People are urban hunting — squirrels, rabbits, raccoons — and eating food past their sell-by dates acquired at “food auctions.”

All of this at the same time that Goldman Sachs in 2009 is paying the largest bonuses to its richest employees in its history thanks to largesse from the US Treasury engineered by Paulson and now Geithner. (Originally reported by the way in a British newspaper, not a US one.)

Why does this country not understand an obligation to take care of its own people? As Katrina Vanden Heuvel wrote, can we please stop the illusion of bipartisanship that prevents the federal government from being a problem solver?

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This entry was posted on Friday, July 3rd, 2009 at 8:33 am and is filed under Bullying & Health, Fairness & Social Justice Denied. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.



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  1. kathy says:

    This is so true and I am grateful that there are people outraged about it! After I was laid off 2 years ago, I lost my health insurance which allowed me to maintain routine health care maintenence in addition to the essential care I was receiving for a terminal condition. My unemployment put me a few dollars over the poverty line so I was not even eligible for Medi-cal. It is absolutely essential that all people understand the true state of our country. I am not lazy, drug addicted or stupid, I want to work and apply for jobs every day but the only place where I can afford to live has an even higher unemployment rate than where I lived before and there are no resources. Americans should be terrified because this is and can happen to anyone!

  2. i have been sick and bullied for years. having ms or strokes can destroy your life. can’t maintain your life due to illness. people are driven from their jobs when they become chronically ill. it doesn’t fit the company image. poverty ensues and treatment becomes impossible. co-workers claim you are faking or slacking and if something is said enough, it’s believed. i’ve just been asked to leave my minimum wage job to get better. this is where i had a nasty stroke after being mobbed and getting angry. i tell the employer but he says it’s always a conspiracy with you. feels like high school. i used to research and teach at the university. learning is my only release. dying poor sucks.

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