Monday, October 26, 2009

Harvard Study: 45,000 U.S. Deaths Annually Linked to Insurance Industry

"Clearly, this mangy and murderous health insurance industry is one sick puppy that needs to be taken out back and shot like the rabid dog it is."

-Single Payer Saves Hundreds of Billions of Dollars-

U.S. Health Insurance Mafia: Murdering 45,000 Americans Annually

Cambridge, MA -- This is sickening. Why isn't Obama declaring a National Health Emergency?

First, greedy politicians used American white collar jobs as bargaining chips under the greatest lie ever told of an American skilled technology and nursing labor shortage in order to enrich themselves via the importation and abuse of cheap H-1B visa and green card holders. The bleeding of U.S.  citizens' white collar jobs to imported and outsourced  workers is ongoing today. Where are the “progressives” to protest? Chicago's James Carlini provides excellent analysis into the U.S. labor shortage myth in his article entitled Financial Collapse: Student Loans, Hospitals and Cars.

But this isn't enough for these greedy bipartisan corporate and beltway insiders. Now, they don't even try to hide the fact that they are picking off Americans (as in murder) and everyone else they invite through the front and back doors to take U.S. jobs and drive down wages while denying them access to health care. To them, its all one big, 24/7 global philanthropy free-for -all where American citizens are their bargaining chips who foot the bill for them. Isn't it high time we started focusing on domestic affairs by taking care of our own citizenry for a change?

This Harvard study concludes that nearly 45,000 U.S. deaths each year are linked to a lack of access to quality health care. In the United States, deaths associated with lack of “health insurance” now exceed those caused by many common killers such as kidney disease, according to this new study available on line “Health Insurance and Mortality in U.S. Adults.”

Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, study co-author, is a professor of medicine at Harvard and a primary care physician in Cambridge, MA. She noted:

Historically, every other developed nation has achieved universal health care through some form of nonprofit national health insurance. Our failure to do so means that all Americans pay higher health care costs, and 45,000 pay with their lives.”
She added: “Even the most liberal version of the House bill would have left 17 million uninsured, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The whittled down Senate bill will be worse – leaving tens of millions uninsured, and tens of thousands dying because of lack of care. Without the administrative savings only attainable through a Medicare-for-all, single-payer reform – real universal coverage will remain unaffordable. Politicians are protecting insurance industry profits by sacrificing American lives.”

Note that these articles use the terminology “health insurance” instead of “health care” when in fact, the for-profit, monopolistic health insurance industry is in the business of profiteering from sickness and death of those who pay their obscenely overpriced and unaffordable premiums. Clearly, this mangy and murderous health insurance industry is one sick puppy that needs to be taken out back and shot like the rabid dog it is.

If the Insurance death industry disappeared tomorrow, what would happen to all of those horribly officious claims processors who deny coverage and those self-important, insufferable Insurance Commissioners if Single Payer were enacted? Are there not decent and noble professions that can actually help our families and neighbors for them to shift to?

There will be no change unless American citizens demand oversight of these corporate sociopaths who are killing our white collar jobs and our families and neighbors. Yes, the health insurance mafia is killing American jobs and its citizens by awarding their insider group of corporate and beltway sponsors with blood money.



Anonymous said...

This 45,000 figure is a total canard.

First a little background on two of the co-authors. Himmelstein and Woolhander are advocates of single-payer, government-run health care. They co-founded a physician group, Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), which touts itself as ‘the only national physician organization in the United States dedicated exclusively to implementing a single-payer national health program. The entire study was written with a leftist spin to it.

The "study" is based on a health survey between 1988-1994 where a sample of 9,000 people were asked if they were insured and then asked to rate their health. The CDC tracked the deaths of the people in this group through the year 2000. The doctors named above then "played in the numbers" and attributed deaths from the group (at that static point in time) to the lack of health insurance.

The following was noted:

"Our study has several limitations," the authors concede. "The survey data they used assessed health insurance at a single point in time and did not validate self-reported insurance status. We were unable to measure the effect of e gaining or losing coverage after the interview."

They also stated that "earlier population-based surveys that did validate insurance status found that between 7% and 11% of those initially recorded as being uninsured were misclassified. If present, such misclassification might dilute the true effect of uninsurance in our sample."

If I had no insurance in 1988 on the day I participated in the study, and then had insurance from the next day through November, 2000, when I died, this pathetic "study" would list me as having died because I had no health insurance.

2Truthy said...

"If I had no insurance in 1988 on the day I participated in the study, and then had insurance from the next day through November, 2000, when I died, this pathetic "study" would list me as having died because I had no health insurance."

Good point, Anon.

Now, let's talk about statistics.

This study, however, is no more a "total canard" than the endless streams of corporate welfare/think tank sponsored studies that promote the myth of a skilled labor shortage. Let me ask you this: Does it take a Harvard think tank to convince you that millions of educated Americans with degrees and advanced degrees from our finest universities who are now on unemployment lines and have NO HEALTH CARE because they don't exist and are not "skilled"?

Back to the Harvard Study:

"The study found a 40 percent increased risk of death among the uninsured. As expected, death rates were also higher for males (37 percent increase), current or former smokers (102 percent and 42 percent increases), people who said that their health was fair or poor (126 percent increase), and those who examining physicians said were in fair or poor health (222 percent increase)."

OK. People die, with and without health insurance. But how do you debunk the notion that preventative medicine can help avoid people from say, keeling over from strokes caused by such diseases as silent killers like high blood pressure and unscreened cancer, for example?

The conclusion of this study is that 40% of people without ACCESS - ACCESS to health care face higher death rates than those with regular access. When it comes to an individual's health care (NOT health insurance), I find it difficult to discount studies by physicians who credibly acknowledge flaws in such studies.

Per your comment regarding PNHP's "leftist spin" would you happen to have a "right" one?

I would point you to this study

by Stan Dorn at the Urban Institute.