How can a developed, first world society have no qualms about letting its poor die of treatable/preventable diseases? The tooth infection death of a 24-year-old Cincinnati man, who was unemployed and uninsured, kicked up a debate the world over.
Added to that, was the applause at the CNN-Tea Party Republican debate early last week on the suggestion that the idea of letting uninsured sick people die was a good one.
The United States' largest representative of registered nurses, however, expressed disgust at the prospect. National Nurses United said the gruesome reaction is a reminder of the growing collapse of civil society, and the need for more humane policies. One such step would be to expand Medicare to cover all Americans so no one is in danger of losing their life because they are uninsured.
Prompting the outburst was CNN's Wolf Blitzer's question to Rep. Ron Paul about whether care should be provided to an uninsured man in a coma. Paul responded, "That's what freedom is all about, taking your own risks."
When Blitzer asked, "Are you saying that society should just let him die?" several audience members laughed and erupted into loud cheers of "Yeah!"
Nearly 45,000 deaths in the U.S. annually are associated with lack of health insurance, according to a study this year by Harvard Medical School and Cambridge Health Alliance.