People who die due to lack of insurance


charlene dillI have written about the unbelievable cruelty shown by those states that refused to expand Medicaid so that those people who are too poor to be covered by the subsidies offered by the Affordable Care Act could obtain health insurance anyway. As a result, we have the predicable result that some people are now dying because they have no health insurance.

Bill Manes has written an excellent article about such cases, focusing on Charlene Dill, a 32-year old working mother of three small children. In the process, he also describes the complexities of life when one is poor.

Charlene Dill didn’t have to die.

Dill’s death was not unpredictable, nor was it unpreventable. She had a documented heart condition for which she took medication. But she also happened to be one of the people who fall within the gap created by the 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allowed states to opt out of Medicaid expansion, which was a key part of the Affordable Care Act’s intention to make health care available to everyone. In the ensuing two years, 23 states have refused to expand Medicaid, including Florida, which rejected $51 billion from the federal government over the period of a decade to overhaul its Medicaid program to include people like Dill and Woolrich – people who work, but do not make enough money to qualify for the Affordable Care Act’s subsidies. They, like many, are victims of a political war – one that puts the lives and health of up to 17,000 U.S. residents and 2,000 Floridians annually in jeopardy, all in the name of rebelling against President Barack Obama’s health care plan.

These are the people in the coverage gap – the unknowns, the single mothers, the not-quite-retired – the unnamed 750,000 Floridians who are suffering while legislators in Tallahassee refuse to address the issue in this year’s legislative session, which ends on May 2. The working poor – who used to be the middle class – are on a crash course with disaster for no logical reason. Charlene Dill, at the age of 32, didn’t have to die.

I have a deep hatred in my heart for those politicians who did this to people like Dill. They are scum. There is no other word to describe them.

Comments

  1. Dunc says

    I’ve said it before: they turned down free money in order to make poor people’s lives worse. It’s sickening.

  2. Rob Grigjanis says

    The kindest term for this is depraved indifference. I call it murder, and a crime against humanity.

  3. karmacat says

    That’s what these people want: for people to die. And a lot of them call themselves Christian. Ugh.

  4. FSM rules UK says

    Glad we get free healthcare in the UK

    USA get your act together, yours is the most expensive and least effective in the west!

  5. says

    “Are now dying”? The correct phrase is “Are still dying.” Medical care has always been the privilege of the well-off in the United States; either you have the resources to buy insurance or you are screwed. Not even the ACA has changed that.

    People dying for want of basic necessities is a long-standing tradition in this country, and one of the “way things have always been” that Republicans fight tooth and nail to preserve.

  6. Nigel Appleton says

    So why is there no furious outcry in those states?

    Why are the politicians responsible for denying healthcare to their electorate not being called out on it?

  7. smrnda says

    “People dying for want of basic necessities is a long-standing tradition in this country, and one of the “way things have always been” that Republicans fight tooth and nail to preserve.”

    This is what Republicans call ‘freedom’

    All said, the callousness towards people who need access to health care and can’t get it that you encounter, particularly online is truly shocking. It’s as if it’s a point of pride among many Americans to be as indifferent to others as possible.

  8. Mary Jo says

    An in-law of mine does not want more people to have health care because she worries there will be longer waiting times at the doctor’s office.

  9. Mano Singham says

    Mary Jo,

    I have heard that argument too and suspect that it is a common but unspoken reason. I find it frankly appalling.

  10. Pierce R. Butler says

    Nigel Appleton @ # 8: Why are the politicians responsible for denying healthcare to their electorate not being called out on it?

    In part, because the corporate media declines to touch the story.

    For example, a certain HMO conglomerate was convicted in federal court of massive Medicare/Medicaid fraud and given a record fine of over $2 billion. Their CEO was fired but not criminally charged, even though well over $200 million of that fraud went into his personal bank account.

    When his name emerged in the news not too long later, this background was typically reported as “his controversial tenure”, with no further details – never mind an inquiry into, say, how many people were murdered by his financial crimes. Perhaps you already know how that worked out – we here in Florida now have to refer to this unrepentant mass killer as Governor Rick Scott. (In case you’re wondering – his Democratic opponent didn’t do much to highlight the story either.)

  11. Mary Jo says

    Nigel and Pierce @8 and 12: Another reason. The people being denied healthcare do not contribute to campaigns.

  12. Timothy says

    @8 – Nigel

    “So why is there no furious outcry in those states?

    Why are the politicians responsible for denying healthcare to their electorate not being called out on it?”

    Sadly, frustratingly, evilly – Americans have been dying for years. Unable to afford health care. Unable to buy medicine. Having a pre-existing condition which barred them from insurance coverage.

    This is the evil that is American healthcare. These are the stories that are uncovered by American media. Politicians are not held responsible because a large portion of America believe, like Ebenezer Scrooge before his reclamation, that these people should “…die, and decrease the surplus population.”

    Evil.

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