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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Health Care In America - Republicans Ignore Data

When Republicans continue calling for a repeal of health care reform, aka "Obamacare", they continue to ignore facts about how unhealthy it is to be an American.

Robert Samuelson writes in The Washington Post about how an exhaustive report compares America's health with that of people in 16 other advanced countries.

Not surprisingly, when American health is ranked with other developed countries, it turns out we're near the bottom, from life expectancy at birth to frequency of early death before age 50 years. It's not surprising because of the freedom Americans have to participate in unhealthy lifestyles, including the exposure we are all at risk for by people who buy and use guns.  Freedom and autonomy are intrinsic to American culture, but the choices we make are distinctly unhealthy and even fatal.

Homicides put Americans at risk for shorter life expectancy. Among males under 50, there are comparatively more homicides (often gun related).  High rates of diabetes are driven by bad diet choices.  Increasing morbidity from diabetes leads to more incidence of heart disease.

Republican obstruction against contraception for the poor and Planned Parenthood shows up in the American teenage pregnancy rate. American girls 15-19 years old become pregnant at 3.5 times the average rate of other advanced countries, producing children who are doomed to poverty and contribute to the cycle of poor health care.

Remarkably, even the well to do suffer from less than optimal health.  Stress related diseases are the by- product of the nation's relentlessly competitive spirit.

Americans falsely assume we're blessed with a healthy population. In fact, we're not as healthy as at least 16 other developed nations.

Republicans continue to ignore the right of all Americans to have access to quality and affordable health care. Health insurance companies generate profit margins by not providing universal coverage.  Nevertheless, Republicans want to repeal the health care reform law passed by President Obama whereby profitable insurance companies can, now, no longer discriminate against beneficiaries with preexisting conditions or screen out benefits for children with chronic illnesses.

Although the Congress and Senate enjoy tax payer paid health insurance benefits, the Republicans would rather deny all Americans access to quality and affordable health care than support resources to expand wellness care and health benefits to everyone.

It's time Republicans smarten up and read the data about how America's health care doesn't compare favorably with 16 other countries.  Republicans who support extending the Medicare eligibility age to 67, and who call for repeal of health care reform (Obamacare), should try living without their tax payer benefits for 6 months.  It's likely the Republicans won't ignore health care data if they are among those in the unhealthy statistical analysis.

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