Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Conservatives Find No Sympathy For Tiny Tim Cratchit

At a town hall held by Rep. Lipinski (D-Ill.) on November 14th, Dan and Midge Hough spoke about the death of their daughter-in-law and her unborn child:
Twenty-four-year old Jennifer was not receiving regular prenatal care and she did not receive immediate medical care when she first got sick -- because she was uninsured. Jennifer's illness worsened and she eventually went to a hospital emergency room.

By then, Jennifer's illness had turned into double pneumonia. Complications from the pneumonia then resulted in septic shock. That further complication caused a heart attack, a brain bleed and then a stroke. Jennifer lost the baby and she died a few weeks later.
As the grieving Midge Hough told her story she was heckled by conservatives attending the town hall to protest against health insurance reform. Ms. Hough told the conservatives, "You can laugh at me, that's okay," she said, crying, "But I lost two people, and I know you think that's funny, that's okay." Catherina Wojtowicz, an organizer for the conservative Chicago Tea Party Patriots, who oppose health insurance reform, said the audience was exasperated by stories of these "isolated tragedies" that cloud debate about health insurance reform.

Clearly, conservatives can find no sympathy for the "isolated tragedy" of A Christmas Carol's Tiny Tim Cratchit. Can conservatives find any fault at all with Ebenezer Scrooge's character - before his spiritual reclamation?

About 44 million people in this country have no health insurance, and another 38 million have inadequate health insurance. This means that nearly one-third of Americans face each day without the security of medical care for them and their families, if and when they need it.

Research released in the American Journal of Public Health in September 2009 estimates that 45,000 deaths per year in the United States are associated with the lack of health insurance. [reference one and two]

Many of those who feel satisfied with their health insurance coverage and who reject the need for health insurance reform, in fact, aren’t “insured” from the financial burdens of rising health care costs or an unexpected high cost illness.
“Under-insurance is the great hidden risk of the American health care system,” says Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard law professor who has analyzed medical bankruptcies. “People do not realize they are one diagnosis away from financial collapse.”
A national study released this year found that while medical debt contributed to 62 percent of the bankruptcies in 2007, 78 percent of those bankruptcy filers had health insurance but “still were overwhelmed by their medical debt.” No government agency keeps an official count of the under insured.

LATIMES: The public and employers are staggering under the cost of the present system -- rising at more than twice the rate of inflation and expected to surpass $2.2 trillion this year.

[From Rep. Lipinski's town hall]

HuffPost Editor Roy Sekoff Discusses The Heckling Of Hough Family
On MSNBC's 'The Ed Show'

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