Unless you’ve spent the last four years living in a cave, this is no surprise at all. In a statement e-mailed to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Betty Sutton said:
Every year more than 40,000 people die because they don’t have health insurance coverage, and in this great nation it should not be that way. The legislation is not perfect and indeed contains provisions that I will continue to strive to improve, but I will vote for the bill. By passing this legislation we will take the long overdue step toward ending the egregious, discriminatory practices of insurance companies that deny care based on pre-existing conditions and impose outrageous premium increases. This legislation will also strengthen the solvency of Medicare, lower drug costs for our seniors, and make health insurance more affordable and accessible for small businesses and individuals.
So, how did these political doctors come up with the 44,000 figure? They used data from a health survey conducted between 1988 and 1994. The questionnaires asked a sample of 9,000 participants if they were insured and how they rated their own health. The federal Centers for Disease Control tracked the deaths of people in the sample group through the year 2000. Drs. Himmelstein, Woolhandler, and company then crunched the numbers and attributed deaths to lack of health insurance for all the participants who initially self-reported that they had no insurance and then died for any reason over the 12-year tracking period.
At no time did the original researchers or the single-payer activists who piggy-backed off their data ever verify whether the supposed casualties of America’s callous health care system had insurance or not.
To boil it all down in plain English: The single-payer scientists had no way of assessing whether the survey participants received insurance coverage between the time they answered the questionnaires and the time they died. They had no way of assessing whether the deaths could have been averted with health insurance coverage. A significant portion of those classified as “uninsured” may not have even been uninsured, based on past studies that actually did verify insurance status. But the Himmelstein team just took the rate of uninsurance from the original study (3.3 percent), applied it to census data, and voila: more than 44,000 Americans are dying from lack of insurance.
At least do your constituents the favor of using honest data when you try to support your socialist initiatives, Betty.