Every once in a while, someone will prove themselves to be an idiot by making a leap of logic that doesn't exist.
Such is the case with a couple of left-wing loons this week who, on national TV, attempted to make the case that sixty people die every day because they don't have health insurance. One went so far as to claim that the only way to save these sixty people a day is with a universal, single payor, government run system. No other solution would work.
Putting aside the fact that not all health care reform has to include a government-run system, this is ridiculous.
I've heard this "sixty people a day" figure before. And it's bogus. There isn't a single person who has ever died in this country or any other that has listed on his or her death certificate "Didn't have health insurance" for cause of death.
So where does this figure come from?
Simple. Sixty people a day die who do not have health insurance. That's a completely different thing than saying that they die because they don't have health insurance. A lot of people die every day who don't have a Lexus. The fact that they didn't have a Lexus didn't cause them to die, though. Likewise, those sixty people who die without health insurance don't die simply BECAUSE they don't have health insurance. That's a leap in cause and effect that cannot be made.
While I don't know where this number comes from, but we can make some assumptions. Based on other statistics, it is likely that a few of these people who die without health insurance are healthy young people in the 20 to 40 age range who decide they don't want to pay for health insurance. If they are killed in a car accident, they go into the statistic "died without health insurance." Did the lack of health insurance kill them? Of course not. It is likely that many, if not most of the people who die without health insurance are eligible for health care coverage under an existing government program. Many of these people are homeless, alcoholic or drug dependent, or have serious mental illness. Did they die because they didn't have health insurance? No. They may have died because they didn't seek health care, but not for a lack of insurance, if they were eligible. And universal health care wouldn't have prevented that.
Consider the case of someone who dies of a terminal or chronic illness without health insurance. In most cases, doctors will treat these people and pharmaceutical companies will supply life saving medications at no cost. There are clinics available and services available for those who do not qualify for an existing government program who choose not to pay for health insurance coverage. If they decide not to seek health care because they don't have coverage, is that the fault of the current system? No. And would they get care with a universal plan? Not necessarily. Even with the "public option" plans that are on the table in congress, these people would still have to pay a health insurance premium to someone; either the government or a private insurer. If they refuse to pay a premium now, is there any guarantee they'll pay one later? No.
The bottom line is this: Yes sixty people a day die who coincidentally happen to not have health insurance. There is not one shred of evidence that any of those would not have died with universal government-run health care available.