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Donna Smith

Donna Smith, American SiCKO, is executive director of the Health Care for All Colorado Foundation

November 30th, 2010 9:49 PM

News Flash: 123 Americans Dead, No WikiLeaks Connection

Today, in cites and states across the United States, 123 people died because they lacked enough money to buy healthcare services. That brings the annual death toll for 2010 to 41,082.

WikiLeaks had nothing to do with the deaths of the 123 people who died today or any of the 41,082 who died so far this year.

The 123 who died today did so with the full knowledge of all who allowed their deaths. The 123 who died today might have lived if they had access to appropriate healthcare. The 123 who died got no mention on any news program or website – liberal, conservative or otherwise. So much for the value of 123 human lives.

We Americans have become so conditioned to the cruelty of our profit-driven healthcare system that the death of 123 of our fellow human beings doesn’t even warrant the same coverage as the potential sale of Bob Dylan’s handwritten lyrics for “The Times They are a Changing.” Something is ridiculous about thinking that Dylan’s lyrics might bring $200,000 - $300,000 from some wealthy buyer who might have funded some healthcare and saved a few lives today. What’s changed, Bob?

Oh, we’re ready to throw the whole terrorist plot arsenal at the WikiLeaks folks because of the potential for lost lives based on the leaking of government diplomatic documents. Yes, we are. But no one stands accountable for the 123 dead today without access to healthcare they would have if only they had money. No one stands accountable for the 41,082 healthcare dead so far in 2010.

I don’t understand this hypocrisy any better now than I did when I was a little child who wondered why people had to suffer when there was so much abundance to be shared.

Go ahead and scream about the suffering of those who are persecuted when they release documents. I get the issue. I was a journalist who believed fully that “sunlight is the best disinfectant.”

But shine some of that sun on the healthcare dead. They haven’t stopped dying. They won’t stop dying until we all first see them, own our parts in their suffering and their deaths and then fix the system that allows this. We need a healthcare system without financial barriers to care so that sick people don’t die simply lacking enough cash. That’s pretty simple stuff. Compassion usually is.

As my mom and dad used to say, doing what is right is usually quite simple, it just isn’t easy.

Health insurance expansion is not the same as access to healthcare. Ask the blind woman who had eye surgery only to have Humana deny payment because they determined it wasn’t “medically necessary.”

Here's a video report.

123 American healthcare dead today. 41,082 dead so far this year, and we have the Christmas season of Peace on Earth and Goodwill Toward Men yet to figure into the tally. It is beyond shameful. No leaking documents required. It’s being done in our full view by players with names and wealth beyond measure made in large part by allowing the death and suffering to continue.

When the unemployment benefits run out and Social Security is cut and war rages on and the healthcare death toll keeps mounting, what is it we will be telling our younger generation that we care about? Peace on Earth? Hardly. Goodwill toward men or women? Not a chance.

We could start by telling the truth about the dead. 123 today. 41,082 so far this year. Healthcare dead in America. I cannot forget them. Maybe someone should slips documents and videos of the denials of care and the slow, ugly death process of the healthcare dead to the WikiLeaks guy. Maybe then we’d be ashamed of what the world would see about our devotion to a culture of selfish accumulation of wealth.

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