It's no wonder why People Who Care About Other People (PWCAOP) are abandoning the Republican party.
Us PWCAOP'ers don't believe in letting people die when they could be kept alive, and we don't believe in letting people go bankrupt when they could be financially healthy.
But the position of virtually every top-ranking Republican, including, so far as I can tell, every GOP member of Congress, is that the best thing to do is stop the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, from going into effect.
Result: each year thousands die and millions go bankrupt. This isn't hyperbole. It is fact.
America pays more for health care per capita than any other industrialized country in the world yet we have the most uninsured. An estimated 26,000-45,000 die every year for a lack of health insurance and millions more go bankrupt.
The 45,000 deaths per year figure comes from a study published in the American Journal of Public Health. Some of the researchers were at the Harvard Medical School. Here's an excerpt from a Harvard Gazette story.
Steffie Woolhandler, study co-author, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and a primary care physician at Cambridge Health Alliance, 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.”
“The Institute of Medicine, using older studies, estimated that one American dies every 30 minutes from lack of health insurance,” remarked David Himmelstein, study co-author, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and a primary care physician at Cambridge Health Alliance. “Even this grim figure is an underestimate — now one dies every 12 minutes.”
Medical care costs are the biggest reason people file for bankruptcy. Having health insurance doesn't eliminate that risk entirely, but it sure helps.
Bankruptcies resulting from unpaid medical bills will affect nearly 2 million people this year—making health care the No. 1 cause of such filings, and outpacing bankruptcies due to credit-card bills or unpaid mortgages, according to new data.
So how could anyone want to keep almost 30 million people from getting health insurance through the Affordable Care Act? Beats me. Seems like the only reason Republicans want to do this is a fear that Obamacare will succeed.
Yet even as Republican politicians seem ready to go on the offensive, there’s a palpable sense of anxiety, even despair, among conservative pundits and analysts. Better-informed people on the right seem, finally, to be facing up to a horrible truth: Health care reform, President Obama’s signature policy achievement, is probably going to work.
And the good news about Obamacare is, I’d argue, what’s driving the Republican Party’s intensified extremism. Successful health reform wouldn’t just be a victory for a president conservatives loathe, it would be an object demonstration of the falseness of right-wing ideology. So Republicans are being driven into a last, desperate effort to head this thing off at the pass.
Which won't work, of course. There's no way President Obama and congressional Democrats are going to stop the Affordable Care Act from being implemented. This is a life-saving, bankruptcy-preventing train that already has left the station.
Yet a disturbingly large number of Republicans have a fantasy of holding the debt ceiling hostage until Obamacare is killed. Raising the debt ceiling, of course, is simply agreeing to pay the bills that Congress already has incurred. It has nothing to do with future spending.
This ploy will fail.
Obama has said that he won't negotiate over the debt ceiling. And halfway reasonable Republicans like John McCain are refusing to go along with the crazy idea of wrecking the nation's credit rating just to make a political point.
Hopefully the GOP will come to its senses and realize that it isn't good politics to be in favor of continuing to condemn thousands to die and millions to go bankrupt every year.