On health care policy, a personal story

I’m not watching C-Span today:

Consider this, published by a team of U.S. health care researchers in 2004: “Lack of health insurance causes roughly 18,000 unnecessary deaths every year in the United States.”

That was five years ago. The quiet tragedy associated with a lack of health insurance has continued, the numbers growing in the half-decade since a team from the Institute of Medicine, our leading national health care think tank, published that statistic.

Perhaps 18,000 is too abstract to get your head around. To make this more concrete, let me introduce you to Virginia Heineman.

Severely asthmatic, chronically ill, and as a result chronically underemployed, Virginia — “Ginnie” to those of us who loved her — lived on society’s margins.

She was my wife Lissa’s beloved younger sister. She was one of 2002’s 18,000 unnecessary deaths.


One Comment

  1. I am one of those who can only hope for “Obamacare.”  I have a COBRA policy that is mine until 2014.  After that, if no “Obamacare”, I will have no coverage.

    This system of ‘if you can survive until you are 65, you cross the finish line and you’re taken care of,’ but if you have a problem before that, ‘good luck to you’ really sucks, especially if you are on the side of not being employed in an industry that provides health insurance – not toe mention, policies that employees can afford.

    I am sorry for your loss, especially for such a stupid reason.

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