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Santorum: Americans don’t ‘die because of lack of health insurance’

By Andrew Jones
Tuesday, December 6, 2011 13:30 EDT
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Rick Santorum at a GOP debate. Image via Youtube.
 
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In a feisty exchange with a student in Sioux Center, Iowa Monday evening, GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum said that, in his opinion, lack of access to health care has no effect on America’s mortality.

According to ABC News, the former Pennsylvania senator was pressed by the student asking about health care and whether Christians had a responsibility to care for the poor.

When the student, citing a 2009 Harvard University study, said he didn’t “think God appreciates the fact that we have 50 to 100,000 uninsured Americans dying due to a lack of healthcare every year.”

Santorum was not willing at all to accept the student’s word, blaming Americans for their own fate instead of for-profit health insurance companies.

“Dying?” he asked. “I reject that number completely, that people die in America because of lack of health insurance. People die in America because people die in America. And people make poor decisions with respect to their health and their healthcare. And they don’t go to the emergency room or they don’t go to the doctor when they need to.”

But as that Harvard study indicates, Santorum is wrong in his assessment: Some American deaths are due to a lack of access to health care.

The 2009 Harvard study rejected by Santorum said that 45,000 annual deaths were caused by a lack of health coverage. The figure was about two and a half times higher than an estimate from the Institute from Medicine in 2002.

The Harvard study is only the most recent one to find that lack of access to health care has a deleterious effect on Americans’ mortality.

Andrew Jones
Andrew Jones
Andrew Jones is a staff writer/reporter for Raw Story. Besides covering politics, he is also a freelance sports journalist, as well as a slam poetry and music artist. You can follow him on Twitter @sluggahjells.
 
 
 
 
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