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Thursday, Jan 5, 2017

On Obamacare, and Priorities

Before Obamacare, lack of health insurance killed 44,000 Americans per year.

I know some people feel personally aggrieved by the Affordable Care Act; they feel that their situation, or that of their loved ones, got worse because of Obamacare. They have a right to be hurt and upset about that. And it is impossible for me to look any one of them in the eye and say, “The struggle your family went through was necessary to save those other people,” however much I wish I could make them believe it.

A chart showing the rate of Americans without health insurance declining sharply after the Affordable Care Act took effect

But before Obamacare came into effect, roughly a half a million Americans lost their lives, just since the year 2000, because they didn’t have health coverage and couldn’t afford to see a doctor. Half a million people. A small town, every year. A football stadium, all dead. Year after year. Not from fire and twisted metal, but from preventable and treatable diseases, for going without regular checkups and the healing touch of a trained nurse or physician.

Think about the great lengths we have gone to since the War On Terror began, the enormous sums of money we have devoted to this cause. And then think about a problem 100 times as deadly whose solution cost half as much–a solution found in healing not killing, in solidarity and support for our American family.

If we treated health as an integral part of security and allocated resources to match the enormity of the threat, we would have enough money for Obamacare, and a lot more. We could even lower the premiums and the copays–to zero, actually, which is what the fight should have been about from the start.

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