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It is easy to forget that some Americans, apparently Tea Party members, believe that uninsured people should actually die rather than the United States providing any form of help. That fact was startling clear on Monday night during the Republican debate.
Late in the debate, CNN moderator Wolf Blitzer posed a hypothetical question to Rep. Ron Paul from Texas. “What do you tell a guy who is sick, goes into a coma and doesn’t have health insurance? Who pays for his coverage? Are you saying society should just let him die?” Wolf Blitzer asked. The audience actually cheered at the idea of letting someone die because they don’t have health insurance.
This is the world we now live, allowing other humans to die rather than have some damn socialist system is preferable. Paul interrupted the cheering to offer an explanation for how this was, more-or-less, the root choice of a free society. He added that communities and non-government institutions can fill the void that the public sector is currently playing.
“We never turned anybody away from the hospital,” he said of his volunteer work for churches and his career as a doctor. “We have given up on this whole concept that we might take care of ourselves, assume responsibility for ourselves … that’s the reason the cost is so high.” There are countless examples of people dying because they don’t have health insurance.
This is not a novel idea. It is a reality in everyday America. We can pump out our chests and talk about how proud we are to be an American, but a country that allows 45,000 citizens to die each year because they don’t have the money it not a place I am proud of.
Just the other day, there was another heart-wrenching story about a young girl who died with a very treatable condition because she was uninsured. A ten-year old girl was sent home from the emergency room by two different doctors on two different days, even though during her second visit she was blue around her mouth and nose, had difficulty breathing and couldn’t pee.
She was diagnosed with the “worst kidney infection” this particular doctor had ever seen. The girl died the next day. Although Paul may have an idealistic idea of a free society, that is not what happens. Clearly. Maybe people are not turned away for not having insurance, but they aren’t given the best care either.
I don’t want to live in a society where it is celebrated that people die because they live in the wrong socioeconomic bracket.
Image Courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/eriklandru/