Related to the poverty story above, most of you have probably already read about the 12 year-old Maryland boy who died this week from toothache complications. The Washington Post ran the story on Wednesday.
The fact is, the young man didn't die really from the toothache--he died because this fucking country doesn't provide the most basic health care services to its most vulnerable citizens.
Deamonte Driver had a toothache that led to an infection. That infection spread to his brain. The original problem could have been remedied with an $80.00 tooth extraction. But it seems that Deamonte's mother works a low-wage job that doesn't provide her with health insurance (big surprise). Ms. Driver's children were eligible for Medicaid benefits, but dental care under that program is extremely difficult to secure--most dentists in Maryland do not accept Medicaid because of "low reimbursement rates."
A study done several years ago suggested that uninsured adults were more likely to die prematurely than those with health coverage. Wow, who would have guessed? Sorry to be so cynical--but read the study's press release and you will begin to understand the tremendous disadvantages that the poor and uninsured must endure.
And yet, all Congress can do is talk about why big government shouldn't get involved.....how universal coverage will not work....how the welfare state will make us all weak and dependent....how Canadians have to wait five years to get a doctor's appointment....and how taxes will go up if we give everyone health insurance coverage.
And while our elected representatives argue--a young man died because he and his poor family couldn't get a simple, cheap, medical procedure.
In the meantime, the cost of the illegal occupation of Iraq keeps adding up--right now it is somewhere in the vicinity of $405 billion. Yes, that's billion dollars.