While we take a day to honor those who have served our country so selflessly Harvard releases a new study with a number that should send shock waves through anyone who supports our veterans:
A research team at Harvard Medical School estimates 2,266 U.S. military veterans under the age of 65 died last year because they lacked health insurance and thus had reduced access to care. That figure is more than 14 times the number of deaths (155) suffered by U.S. troops in Afghanistan in 2008, and more than twice as many as have died (911 as of Oct. 31) since the war began in 2001.
And to really put this number into perspective:
Dr. David Himmelstein, the co-author of the analysis and associate professor of medicine at Harvard, commented, “On this Veterans Day we should not only honor the nearly 500 soldiers who have died this year in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also the more than 2,200 veterans who were killed by our broken health insurance system. That’s six preventable deaths a day.”
How can anyone claim that they “support our troops” when they can turn a blind eye to healthcare reform and ignore this sobering statistic? Perhaps part of it is a misconception – one that leaves people believing that all veterans get free healthcare via the VA. Well that is wrong:
While many Americans believe that all veterans can get care from the VA, even combat veterans may not be able to obtain VA care, Woolhandler said. As a rule, VA facilities provide care for any veteran who is disabled by a condition connected to his or her military service and care for specific medical conditions acquired during military service.
From now one when a teabagger, Republican, Democrat or any other citizen of this country says they don’t support robust healthcare reform with a strong public option then we must counter with “then you don’t support our troops”. That’s exactly what this study says, and should be echoed to the “status quo” crowd.