March 4, 2010

Every 24 minutes: why it's time to vote on the health care bill

Two years ago, a friend I've known for more than 40 years who works at the Urban Institute updated the Institute of Medicine's estimate of the annual excess deaths in the U.S. due to lack of insurance. In 2008, the updated estimate was 22,000 annual excess deaths. That's an average of one preventable death about every 24 minutes.

Every time that a Republican talks about "starting over," think of how many 24-minute chunks of time that would involve. Every 24 minutes of delay = one more excess death. Every time that an overly-righteous proponent of the public option talks about "being slapped in the face by the White House" and (again) starting the debate over, think of how many 24-minute chunks that would involve. Think of how many 24-minute chunks have passed since 1993 (the last time a major health-care initiative died). 

It's time for the Senate to vote on amendments to its bill using reconciliation, and it's time for the House to pass both the Senate bill and amendments.

Updated: Families USA has calculated that it's now a preventable death every 21 minutes.

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Posted in Random comments on March 4, 2010 10:51 AM |