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20,000 Americans Die Each Year Due To Lack Of Healthcare

From the Frontline documentary "Sick Around America:

According to a study by the National Academy of Sciences, around 20,000 Americans die each year because they can’t get the healthcare they need.

You cannot reform medical care and coverage without (a) covering everyone and (b) controlling costs. But how you get from here to there? That’s the bazillion dollar question.¬†

Especially within a system where insurance companies make their profits from denying coverage and sustaining the status quo by trying to make it nearly impossible to change anything without a massive disruption for everyone involved. What’s the bottom line at this point?

Small businesses are fed up with rapidly rising costs and want changes.

— Health insurers may finally be seeing the handwriting on the wall and have begun to offer some concessions.

— Numbers of uninsured Americans are swelling rapidly:

From 1994 to 2007, the number of Americans without health insurance increased by almost 9 million….

— How do we even define health care and its related needs? That’s a subject of considerable debate.

— But public support is rising for a total overhaul of the healthcare system. With one in five Americans lacking health insurance, the need is growing:

"The case for reform couldn’t be clearer," Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said in a news release from the organization, which focuses on health and health-care issues. "Further inaction means that costs rise, businesses struggle and workers go without. As high as the numbers of uninsured people seem to be, they don’t even reflect the current crisis, with millions of Americans losing their jobs, which puts their insurance status in jeopardy. And the more people who become uninsured, the harder it is on our health-care system."

So, how do we answer all the remaining questions and resolve the myriad of enormous problems? That’s the next step.

But if we cannot take those steps now during this enormous opportunity borne through the confluence of economic crisis, desperate need, and longer-term examination of what we have been doing wrong? Then we continue to fail not only ourselves, but all the generations to come. Because the problems will not disappear by magic.

The House and Senate are set to take up plans in the coming week. But which ones? And will they be enough?

Will we continue to simply nibble around the edges? Or really shift fundamentals?  Because, honestly, we cannot afford to just stand still.

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com