Thursday, March 11, 2010

Cost of War; Cost of Health Insurance

Cost of War, Cost of Health Insurance.

It's time to look at some numbers.

Estimates of people dying prematurely because they have no health insurance range from 22,000 to 45,000 persons a year. That is roughly between 200,000 and 400,000 Americans who died since 9/11 because they lacked health insurance. This number is not often mentioned in the partisan debates about health care. Many Republicans say that Obama-care is too expensive. Too expensive to save upwards of 22,000 lives per year?

What would be the costs of saving at least some of those lives? Estimates of the cost of Pres. Obama's health reform package range from 975 billion a year to 1.2 trillion, to $1.6 billion a year. That plan would not insure every last American citizen. It would not reduce that 22,000 or 45,000 number to zero. But it would help.

Here is another relevant number. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan cost just about $1 trillion last year. If we did not have to fight these two wars, we could actually afford to save a lot of American lives – without even counting the lives of our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan—let alone the dead and injured among Iraqis and Afghanis.

Many people think that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are essential to American security, in order to save American lives. We lost 3000 men and women on 9/11.Since that time between 200,000 and 400,000 Americans died for lack of health insurance.

How many lives are we going to sacrifice for our security? Whose security are we protecting? We are not protecting the lives lost to lack of health insurance.