Clearing the Fog
in the
War of Words


  logomachy--1. A dispute about words. 2. A dispute carried on in words only; a battle of words.
logomachon--1. One who argues about words. 2. A word warrior.



Do the uninsured really die faster?

Are there really, as we are told, 18,000 deaths among the uninsured that could have been prevented had the dear departed had employer-funded medical insurance? The “18,000 deaths per year because of a lack of insurance” claim is from a 2002 study. The estimate has recently been updated to 22,000.

Let’s think about this a little bit.

First: How many of those uninsured could not get insurance because government mandates for covered items made the cheapest policy unaffordable, while the states forbid buying insurance from states with less oppressively expensive mandates? And how many deaths occurred because government regulation, demanded by unions and liberals, kept them from getting a health savings account with a high deductible policy? (John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, by the way, suggests removing these restrictions in his infamous WSJ op-ed.)

The first government reform should be to get out of the way.

Second: Let’s put the 22,000 estimate in context. The crude US death rate is 8.38 per 1000 population. That means we would expect 377,100 deaths per year among the putative 45 million uninsured. So upwards of 94% of the uninsured who died did so for reasons utterly unrelated to insurance. There are about 2,574,400 deaths per year in the US. 22,000 is 0.85% of 2,574,400. So Obama wants the government to take over (i.e., stifle) a productive, creative, vibrant, fast-growing sixth of the economy because he thinks it will fix less than 1% of the US annual mortality? And Obama thinks he knows how much the US should spend in toto for medicine, and the prices of all medical services, treatments, and medications! That’s not just insane; it’s megalomaniacal.

Which brings us to

Third: The 22,000 annual deaths caused by lack of insurance was not calculated by seeing whether the uninsured population had 22,000 more than the expected 377, 000 deaths per year. It was done statistically. This month PolitiFact published a correction to its affirmation of the 22,000 statistical estimate: When your statistical estimate adjusts “for a number of demographic and health factors,

such as status as a smoker and body mass index . . . the risk of subsequent mortality is no different for uninsured respondents than for those covered by employer-sponsored group insurance. In other words, once you compare death rates in an apples-to-apples fashion—comparing insured smokers to uninsured smokers, for instance—the likelihood of dying evens out. This, in turn, would mean that [the earlier] estimate of 18,000 deaths would drop essentially to zero.”

Poof! . . . goes your 22,000 deaths because of lack of insurance. This is just one more indication that the “completely-broken-health-care-system” hysteria is lying propaganda to cover a fascistic takeover of the US economy.



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