I really don’t mean to be picking on John Edwards, but this statement was too serious to ignore. I did not see Edwards’ Meet the Press interview this weekend, but did see him on Today this morning talking briefly about health care. Thanks to Susan in NC who pointed me to the following from a Rob Christensen article in the Raleigh N&O about that MTP appearance.
The Edwards campaign estimates that 18,000 Americans die each year because they lack health insurance and therefore don’t get proper medical care.
That is a lot of people. In fact, that is even more people than have died in Bush’s “illegal war for oil” in Iraq. I am not a math wiz, but figure it is almost six times more people in one year, than have died in four years in Iraq. For at least the past three years, I have heard a lot of criticism of Bush’s handling of Iraq. I have heard the death tolls that get heralded at every possible “milestone” being blamed almost exclusively on Bush’s “mishandling” of the war. If almost six times more people die in one year due to a lack of health insurance than have died in almost four years of war in Iraq, shouldn’t we be hearing more criticism of the President who entered office promising to fix health care?
In fact, President Clinton made health care his top priority (second only possibly to that middle class tax cut that he worked harder on that anything in his life, but realized after a month in office couldn’t be done). Clinton had eight years in office with what was lauded as the most wonderful economy in the history of the world, yet he failed to fix the health care problem in America and the result is more deaths each year than in four years in Iraq. Shouldn’t those deaths be blamed on the person who mishandled health care during that time? I know Clinton put someone in charge of health care. Now who was that? I am sure it will come to me. If it doesn’t, I’ll bet some Democratic presidential candidates will come up with the name during the primaries.
For those who say Bush should have done something about it before now, I will remind readers that he did advocate health savings accounts early on, but I agree in wishing something more substantial had been proposed earlier — when Republicans controlled Congress. I do understand why it wasn’t though. When Bush entered office he inherited an economy in recession and was hit with the 9/11 attacks, and the financial aftermath of them, less than 9 months after taking office. Addressing the problem of health care is never going to be easy, but it would certainly have been easier when not trying to conduct a war at the same time. I just wonder if we will hear some death toll milestones for those 18,000 people a year who Edwards says die as a result of no health insurance, and whether or not we will hear some criticism for the individual who almost single handedly “mishandled” the issue back in those Clinton golden years.