Speaking a few days ago in Columbus, Mr. Romney again exposed a naiveté engendered by the sheltered advantage of his wealthy life. He said, “We don’t have people that become ill, who die in their apartment because they don’t have insurance.” Apparently, Mr. Romney has never known any poor or working-poor people.
I raised two children without insurance, but I was lucky because I had a credit card. I used that card for dentist visits, eyeglasses, medical treatment, and school physicals. Twenty years later my children are healthy adults. Unfortunately, I am still paying off the credit card debt. However, that card gave me an edge that others were not fortunate enough to have.
Just ask, Mr. Romney, ask real working people who don’t have insurance. They’ve got the medical horror stories and they’ll be glad to share them with you. In reality, even individuals with insurance coverage have sad tales. Here are a few personal accounts.
- A woman who was literally falling over from illness was told that she could not see her doctor until she paid $45. The receptionist suggested she could manage to find a friend to loan her the money. This happens daily in the US.
- People go without dental care because they don’t have dental insurance but earn too much to qualify for treatment at low-income dental clinics. They and their families go without dental care, sometimes causing lifelong consequences for their health. For instance, an acquaintance worked for decades at a service industry job without benefits. She ended up in the hospital with heart problems. The cause? Her doctor said her illness was associated with lack of dental care. She’ll require treatment for the rest of her life for an illness that was preventable.
- A couple was required to send monthly pre-payments to the local hospital during the wife’s pregnancy. Since they had no insurance, it was the only way to guarantee that the hospital would admit them when it was time to give birth to their child.
- Elderly parents on social security were refused treatment until the government determined that they really did not own anything of value. One friend had to prove that she had purchased her house 20 years previously; since her mother lived with the daughter, the facility assumed the mother owned the house.
- People with insurance who travel to another state who can’t get treatment until they manage to crawl home or find someone to drive them to a different state that will accept their policy.
In June, CNN reported that 26,000 US citizens die prematurely because they don’t have health insurance. Additionally, that number has been going up every year. Those 26,000 are our children, parents, friends and co-workers. A friend of mine posted a story on Facebook that rejects Romney’s idiotic statement and provides a bit of reality for that statistic. She’s given me permission to use her example.
“I know of a mother whose child died from an infected abscess in his tooth because they did not have health insurance – she took him to the ER who would not treat him because it was a “dental issue” and referred to a dentist, and without insurance she could not get her 9 yr old son to a dentist, except through the “free county” services, which had a 5 month wait, and didn’t care that it was an emergency, the child contracted sepsis from an untreated dental infection from a cavity and DIED! all because his mother was poor, and without insurance no one would give him antibiotics or treat his infection. that’s just one, of many.”
As the New York Times columnist stated:
“So there’s no real question that lack of insurance is responsible for thousands, and probably tens of thousands, of excess deaths of Americans each year. But that’s not a fact Mr. Romney wants to admit, because he and his running mate want to repeal Obamacare and slash funding for Medicaid — actions that would take insurance away from some 45 million nonelderly Americans, causing thousands of people to suffer premature death. And their longer-term plans to convert Medicare into Vouchercare would deprive many seniors of adequate coverage, too, leading to still more unnecessary mortality.”
If we consider ourselves caring civilized people, then surely every person, and especially each child, is entitled to medical care. In our current system of medicine, that means that they need insurance. Will we care for the children now living? What about future generations? This should not be a political issue. This is truly a human issue.
We can insist our politicians sit down and fix this problem or we can allow them to belittle it with bipartisan based sound bites. Do we want to be caring civilized people or will we be greedy? Will we trivialize and politicize a serious problem or will we be caring and humane?
 Vardon, Joe, Darrel Rowland and Joe Hallett. “Romney in Central Ohio: Health care called ‘choice’” The Columbus Dispatch (original publication date: October 11, 2012)
http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2012/10/11/health-care-called-choice.html (accessed October 15, 2012).
 “Advocacy group: 26,000 die prematurely without health insurance” CNN Health (CNN, Posted: June 20th, 2012) http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2012/06/20/families-usa-says-26000-die-prematurely-without-health-insurance/ (accessed Oct. 17, 2012).
 Krugman, Paul. “Death by Ideology” The New York Times. (original publication date: October 14, 2012) http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/15/opinion/krugman-death-by-ideology.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0 (accessed October 15, 2012).