To the editor:
Health care reform is dead, at least according to the Sunday morning pundits, thanks to lying Republicans, foot-dragging, timid Democrats and a fickle and misinformed public. Ironically, it died in Massachusetts, the one state that has a universal health insurance plan (supported by over 80 percent of state residents, including the new U.S. senator). In double irony, it died with Ted Kennedy who called it “the cause of my life.” Its death means the United States will continue to be the only developed country unable or unwilling to provide basic health care to all its citizens, despite paying 50 percent more than any other country.
According to studies by the National Institute of Medicine, 22,000 Americans die yearly of treatable illnesses directly due to their lack of health insurance, a number that will rise as more and more people are unable to afford coverage. That means that over the next decade, more people will die as a result of last week’s election in Massachusetts than died in the earthquake in Haiti. It won’t make the news, and there will be no telethon. They will die quietly with the knowledge that we just don’t care.