Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Parade Of The Uninsured - A Recurring Bad Dream

It was very bad last night. The bedtime local news was full of intimations of the St. Patty's Day Parade in New York. The previews set off my recurring bad dream.

In the bad dream, there is a large reviewing stand set up somewhere on the Mall in Washington. In their seats are certain Senators, Representatives and other opponents of health care reform, as well as the executives of insurance companies, hospital corporations and some doctors' groups who lobby them. The parade begins.

The first part of the parade to roll by is composed of the caissons carrying the coffins of the dead who would be living if they had proper health insurance. There is only time to present the last decade of these dead. There are about 250,000 coffins. They've died of untreated hypertension, diabetes, lung disorders, heart disease, and undiagnosed cancers. But time is short and the parade is long.

The families, friends and neighbors of the dead follow. Perhaps 3,000,000 more people.

Next walking by the reviewing stand come America's 45 million uninsured walking 10 abreast, 24 hours a day for almost three months.

The 45 million uninsured represent more people than live in the 40 largest cities in the United States.

They represent more people than lived in the entire country in 1875.

America's uninsured group is bigger than the current populations of the entire states of New York and Texas combined. (44 million)

America's uninsured group is almost as large as Spain's entire population. (46 million)

California, having the largest state population, has the biggest single contingent in the parade. As of today, over 24% of all people in California under the age of 65 have no health insurance.That's 8.2 million people. New York City has a total population of 8.2 million people.

If all the uninsured were of working age, their combined income would be $1.2 trillion, a "GDP" larger than that of either India, Mexico, Australia, or South Korea.

It's one thing to be the Party of No. It's another thing to be the Party of Death.

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