Thursday, March 18, 2010

Access, Access, Access - Kristof's Column

I'm tired of the health care debate. It's been going on for decades and I don't understand why. Please read Nicholas Kristof's NY Times op-ed column in its entirety. Are you weary, too?

Op-Ed Columnist - Access, Access, Access - "If Republicans succeed in killing Mr. Obama’s reform package, the share of Americans with medical coverage will continue to drop. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation estimated this month that if significant reforms do not pass, the number of uninsured Americans could grow by 10 million over just the next five years.

Partly because of lack of access, American health statistics are notorious: Our children are two-and-a-half times as likely to die before the age of 5 as children in Sweden. American women are 11 times as likely to die in pregnancy or childbirth as Irish women. The average person in Honduras or Vietnam is expected to live longer than the average African-American in New Orleans.

Opponents of health care reform claim that America’s health statistics are poor simply because of America’s racial diversity and large underclass. But there is one group of Americans who do fine in international comparisons — and that’s the 65-plus crowd. They have Medicare.

One careful study after another has shown that uninsured people are significantly more likely to die than insured people. That’s because diseases are caught at later stages on uninsured people, and they don’t get treated so well.

There’s one group that should be particularly passionate about supporting Mr. Obama’s efforts: opponents of abortions. There’s abundant cross-country evidence that the best way to hold down abortion numbers is to improve access to health care and thus prevent unwanted pregnancies."

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