To the Editor:
As of 2010, 50 million people in the U.S. had no health insurance (no doubt more now). Compared to people with health insurance, 40 percent more deaths occur among people lacking insurance. In 2009, nearly 45,000 people died from causes related to their uninsured status (no doubt more than 50,000 per year now).
Why is this tolerated? Because of the existence of the private health insurance industry and the hundreds of thousands of people who are not delivering health care (i.e., not doctors, nurses, pharmacists, etc.) who are being paid by insurance companies for their expertise in denying health care.
The annual cost of administrative waste in the insurance industry is estimated at $400 billion. This amount would provide $8,000 per person per year to each of the 50,000 who die uninsured—thereby saving their lives.
We have spent billions in two wars to avenge the tragic deaths of the 3,000 who were lost on 9/11 — and ended the lives of many more in the process. If we were really concerned about “homeland security” wouldn’t we shift our financial priorities from causing deaths to saving lives by providing comprehensive health care to ALL our people?