A new study in the American Journal of Public Health calculated that 45,000 non-elderly US citizens die every year (based on data from the 80s and 90s) because they don’t have health insurance. That number is higher than the 18 – 22,000 cited in many other articles because the studies that estimated the 18 – 22,000 deaths were based on older data and health care has become more expensive (for everyone) and inaccessible to those without insurance in the past few decades.
Many opponents of reform don’t have a problem spending $3 trillion to attack Iraq over the 2,976 9/11 deaths (regardless of the fact that Iraq had nothing to do with those deaths). But they do have a problem spending a much, much smaller amount of money saving 45,000 young Americans every year.
Chronic conditions are especially deadly, even if they can be controlled with good medical care. If you lose your job because you’re sick, you lose health insurance and get sicker. Many, like Nikki White, die. Pre-existing conditions may mean you can’t get insurance even if you can keep your job, and the list of pre-existing conditions is very very long and includes things like being a victim of domestic violence.
Even if you do have insurance, going broke when you get sick or hurt is not unusual and not having insurance puts people in terrible situations. Our system is so broken that people choose jail over rehab to get needed medical treatments.