By Matthew Rothschild on October 11, 2012

Mitt Romney doesn’t understand how deadly our current health insurance system is.

“We don’t have people that become ill, who die in their apartment because they don’t have insurance,” Romney said in an interview with the Columbus Dispatch on Wednesday.

But according to a Harvard study published in the American Journal of Public Health a couple years ago, about 45,000 people die every year in this country because they didn’t have health insurance.

If they had it, they could have gotten the care they needed for, say, their heart conditions or their diabetes or their cancer, and they might still be alive today.

Let’s put this in perspective: More Americans die every year from lack of health insurance than from car accidents and homicides combined, the Harvard study found.

For Mitt Romney to deny that lack of health insurance is killing people here in the United States just shows you how out of touch the guy is.

In his first debate, he said if people don’t like the health insurance they have, they should get another carrier. But most people don’t have that choice if they get insured through their employer.

For Romney and other CEOs and wealthy individuals, the health care system works fine. But for everyone else, not so much.

It was like him saying that if you’re sick, you can just go to the emergency room. But by then, your lethal disease may have progressed so far that you can’t be saved. And, of course, it’s much more expensive to pay for emergency care than for preventive care or early treatment.

If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story “Obama’s Disastrous Debate."

Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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