US Healthcare

Lack of Health Care Kills

According to a Harvard Medical Study published in 2009, nearly 45,000 people a year die from preventable illnesses which went untreated due to lack of medical insurance. This represents approximately one person every 12 minutes, and serves as a huge counterexample to American claims of  having “the best Healthcare system in the world.” The study concluded that uninsured American adults under the age of 64 have a 40% higher risk of dying than the insured population, which is up from the already high 25% which was indicated by a 1993 study.

The reasons for this increase? Simple: a growing number of people are uninsured. The number of uninsured has increased from 45.7 million in 2007, to 46.3 million in 2008—this number has now soared to over 50 million people, leaving 1/5 of all elderly, and 1/3 of all people between the ages of 19 and 29 without medical insurance. The other largest factor is the lack of facilities in which to receive treatment—even if an uninsured person were to try to pay for their own healthcare out of pocket, clinics and hospitals around the country are shutting down or being forced to cut back hours and programs.

Marxists understand that these are not just coincidences, or simply due to “Republicans blocking the Democrats from passing progressive reform.” This is primarily the result of two things: 1. The inevitable crises of capitalism; and 2. Policies of austerity which are implemented by the ruling class in order to protect their own position by attacking the working class. These attacks will not be stopped simply by hoping for “change from above.” We should remember that the Democrats had a super majority in the legislature at the time that the Obama administration reversed on its promise of extending quality and affordable health care to the majority of the American people. The reason that the Democrats will not do what is needed is not because they are defenders of “bipartisan” efforts to create positive change, but because both parties themselves are representatives of the capitalist class whose continued existence depends on being able to continue their  exploitation of the working class.

The Workers International League believes that the only way to achieve quality, affordable health care for all is to fight back against the bosses’ austerity through the creation of a Mass Party of Labor based on the unions, which, armed with socialist program, can fight in the interests of the working class as a whole.


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