Mitt Romney yesterday continued his false statements tour, claiming that no one in America dies because they don’t have health care insurance, an absolute falsehood. “We don’t have people that become ill, who die in their apartment because they don’t have insurance,” Romney said during an Ohio meeting with the editorial board of The Columbus Dispatch:
“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,’ ” he said as he offered more hints as to what he would put in place of “Obamacare,” which he has pledged to repeal.
“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.”
He pointed out that federal law requires hospitals to treat those without health insurance — although hospital officials frequently say that drives up health-care costs.
Think Progress notes:
Emergency rooms serve as a place of last resort, but 45,000 Americans still die every year because they lack health insurance, or one every 12 minutes. Uninsured adults under age 65 are also at a 40 percent higher death risk. Hospitals may treat patients for emergency medical conditions regardless of legal status or ability to pay, but patients with chronic conditions that don’t require emergency interference are often unable to access needed care.
Romney’s health care proposal would leave 72 million Americans without health insurance and wouldn’t provide all uninsured Americans with a stable source of insurance.
Romney echoed almost the exact words of his former Republican presidential race opponent, and now supporter Rick Santorum.
In December of last year, Santorum responded angrily to college students who told him that “we have 50 to 100,000 uninsured Americans dying due to a lack of healthcare every year,” citing a 2009 study out of Harvard University. “I reject that number completely, that people die in America because of lack of health insurance,” Santorum said, adding, “People die in America because people die in America. And people make poor decisions with respect to their health and their healthcare. And they don’t go to the emergency room or they don’t go to the doctor when they need to,” he said. “And it’s not the fault of the government for not providing some sort of universal benefit.”
“Researchers from Harvard Medical School say the lack of coverage can be tied to about 45,000 deaths a year in the United States — a toll that is greater than the number of people who die each year from kidney disease,” a 2009 New York Times article reported.
And Physicians for a National Health Program in 2009 noted:
A research team at Harvard Medical School estimates 2,266 U.S. military veterans under the age of 65 died last year because they lacked health insurance and thus had reduced access to care. That figure is more than 14 times the number of deaths (155) suffered byU.S. troops in Afghanistan in 2008, and more than twice as many as have died (911 as of Oct. 31) since the war began in 2001.
Image via Mitt Romney
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