Speaking in the UK yesterday, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) predicted that if a Democrat is elected president in 2008, he or she would seek to install universal health care, similar to the system in Britain. This possibility “received thunderous applause.” DeLay claimed that, under the U.S. system, “no American is denied health care”:
By the way, there’s no one denied health care in America. There are 47 million people who don’t have health insurance, but no American is denied health care in America.
The audience, understandably, greeted DeLay’s preposterous claims with “derisive laughter,” according to the AP. A recent report showed that for the sixth straight year, jobholders continued to see a decline in employer-provided health insurance, with 38 states seeing “significant” drops in benefits offered by employers.
Observers estimate that anywhere from one to 18 percent of Americans are denied health insurance because of pre-existing health conditions. These conditions can range from heart disease to high cholesterol to yeast infections to being too skinny. A few examples of Americans who were denied health care:
Texas resident Shirley Lowe was denied health care because her breast cancer was diagnosed at a medical center rather than a clinic receiving federal cancer-research funds.
New Orleans bus driver Emanuel Wilson was denied health care when the government refused to pay for his chemotherapy because he had had a job that had provided insurance — a job he lost after Hurricane Katrina.
Thousands of 9/11 workers who worked at Ground Zero were denied health care when the federal government approved woefully inadequate funds to address the permanent health problems, such as sinusitis and asthma, associated with work at the site.