Sunday, September 27, 2009

Better Dead Than Insured

The New York Times/CBS News poll out yesterday posed the following question:
57. Would you favor or oppose the government offering everyone a government administered health insurance plan — something like the Medicare coverage that people 65 and older get — that would compete with private health insurance plans?

Sixty-five percent said yes. Twenty-six percent said no. According to health insurance reform opponents, that makes nearly two-thirds of Americans socialists or worse.

At the Washington Post, Harold Meyerson observes:
Think about that. The public option has been demonized non-stop for the past half-year; it’s the key to the Republican charge that instituting such a program is tantamount to bringing socialism to America. They have clearly rallied the Republican base to this position, just as they rallied the base to fear the coming of death panels and publicly-subsidized immigrant care. But whereas pluralities of Americans simply said they didn’t know enough to believe one thing or the other about death panels and immigrant care, virtually all Americans not in the Republican base support the public option.
Since Republican legislators represent the 26 percent of Americans opposed to the public option, their opposition to same poses no mystery. The conundrum is why some Democrats -- all save those from the most right-wing districts -- oppose it. When The Post’s uber-policy blogger Ezra Klein asked North Dakota Democratic Senator Kent Conrad yesterday why he didn’t support the public option, Conrad replied, “I don't think a government-run plan best fits this culture.” In Conrad’s mind, such as it is, American culture doesn’t seem to be shaped by the American people.

Funny how that works inside the Beltway. The status quo -- which, presumably, Conrad does think fits this culture -- produces outcomes like this from the Dayton, Ohio Daily News:
OXFORD — Friends say the Miami University graduate who died this week after reportedly suffering from swine flu delayed getting medical treatment because she did not have health insurance.
Young became ill about two weeks ago, but didn’t seek care initially because she didn’t have health insurance and was worried about the cost...

That puts "Kimi" among the 45,000 a year whose deaths are attributable to lack of insurance coverage in America, according to a new Harvard Medical School study.

But then, better dead than red ... at least for a noisy 1/3 of the people in our democracy. Here's what that looks like:

Kimberly "Kimi" Young, 22, died
Tuesday night Sept. 22, 2009 at
University Hospital.

(Cross-posted from Scrutiny Hooligans.)

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