The Facts | Do People Die Because They Don't Have Insurance?

3:25 PM, Oct 16, 2012   |    comments
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By JEFFREY BRUNER (Gannett)

Question: Did Mitt Romney say that people don't die because they don't have health insurance?

Answer: Romney has made this claim a few times during the campaign. He told the Columbus Dispatch: "We don't have people that become ill, who die in their apartment because they don't have insurance."

It's not true.

People die every day because they don't have health insurance -- the hospital might administer CPR you if you have a heart attack, but it doesn't provide free chemotherapy (for those with cancer) or free organ transplants (116,056 currently need one).

Studies have estimated that the number of deaths due to not having health insurance range anywhere from 18,000 (Institute of Medicine, 2002) to 45,000 (Harvard, 2009). The Harvard study took into account factors like smoking, drinking and obesity to reach its number.

(Jeffrey Bruner is the wire chief for the Gannett National Wire Desk in Des Moines.)

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