Kyl’s callous confusion

KYL’S CALLOUS CONFUSION…. There’s ample evidence that thousands of Americans die each year as a result of lacking health care coverage. Indeed, the United States is not only the sole industrialized democracy burdened by health-related bankruptcies, we’re also the only industrialized democracy that tolerates deaths among the uninsured.

Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), however, isn’t “sure” this is actually happening.

On “Meet the Press” yesterday, host David Gregory asked Kyl a very good question: “[Y]ou and other Republicans have said this healthcare reform should be opposed, and one of the major reasons you cite is how much money it costs, how much it could potentially add to the deficit, although the president says it’ll be deficit-neutral. And yet when you talk about the war in Afghanistan and the commanders should have more of their troops, I’ve never heard you say that that should be deficit-neutral, that war costs should somehow not break the bank. Why is that disparity there?”

Kyl responded by saying we can’t “scrimp and save or try to win a war on the cheap,” adding that the conflict in Afghanistan “is a war of necessity,” because of 9/11. Gregory followed up, asking whether it might also be a “necessity” to address the fact that “more and more Americans who die because they don’t have access to health insurance.”

Kyl replied, “I’m not sure that it’s a fact that more and more people die because they don’t have health insurance; but because they don’t have health insurance, the care is not delivered in the best and most efficient way.”

A month ago, Harvard Medical School researchers published a key study that found nearly 45,000 people die in the United States each year — one every 12 minutes — because of a lack of health insurance. CBS News reported, “After factoring in education and income, smoking, drinking and obesity, researchers found that the uninsured had about a 40 percent higher risk of death, linking 45,000 American deaths a year to lack of insurance. In 1993 it was 25 percent.”

Maybe Kyl’s constituents should send their senator a copy of the report. Apparently, he hasn’t seen it.