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US Republican candidate defends pre-health care reform system to Ohio newspaper, calls purchasing health care insurance a "choice."
Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney elaborated on his plans for revamping President Obama's Affordable Care Act to the editorial board of an Ohio newspaper — and emphasized his belief that the pre-reform US healthcare system was adequate.
“We don’t have a setting across this country where if you don’t have insurance, we just say to you, ‘Tough luck, you’re going to die when you have your heart attack,’" Romney told the Columbus Dispatch newspaper.
“No, you go to the hospital, you get treated, you get care, and it’s paid for, either by charity, the government or by the hospital. We don’t have people that become ill, who die in their apartment because they don’t have insurance.”
Despite Romney's statements, studies indicate that many Americans do in fact die due to a lack of adequate health insurance. And a 2011 US Department of Health and Human Services survey found that 49.9 million citizens were uninsured in 2010. That's 16.3 percent of all Americans.
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Reuters reported in 2009 that a Harvard Medical School study found 45,000 US deaths each year could be linked to a lack of insurance — and that adults under age 64 without insurance had a 40 percent higher risk of death than those with coverage.
A 2012 study by advocacy group FamiliesUSA found that 26,100 people between the ages of 25 and 64 likely died because they were uninsured in 2010.
FamiliesUSA also calculated there were a total of 134,120 premature deaths in the USA between 2005 and 2010 from a lack of insurance.
Romney this week has taken a more moderate tack with his approach to health insurance, claiming that he would provide a one-time amnesty window for people with pre-existing conditions to enroll.
However, his campaign was forced to backpedal somewhat on his more moderate statements.
Romney previously came under fire for claiming that emergency-room care — which under federal law, must be provided to everyone, even the uninsured — was an adequate replacement for health insurance.
UCLA has released a study detailing the differences between Obama and Romney on healthcare matters, which is well worth a read.