10 million children die each year due to lack of healthcare

9 January 2009

What has been going on in Gaza is a tragedy. And I certainly understand and agree with the angry and upset voices. And I do not want diminish the suffering of anyone in this world affected by war and violence. But I want to address something that people continue to ignore.

It is estimated that 18,000 men and women silently die (without press coverage) each year in the United States (not to mention countless more children) due to lack of health care. That is about 18 assaults on Gaza or about six 9/11s happening each year. If you want to spread it out to the world MSNBC reported (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24482102/) a few months back that 10 million children die each year from lack of health care. TEN MILLION! That is over 3000 9/11 attacks each year. Most if not all of these deaths are preventable. And so where is our horror at this? Where is the front page news? Where are the major news stories? Where is the “war on lack of health care”? Where are the petitions and written drafts and statements going back and forth on email lists. It is an abomination that is preventable and yet the world at large does nothing.

On a peace email list serve that I am on, someone stated in response to what is going on in Gaza to “Look at Your Children” and how we should not ignore the suffering of others - well sadly we do not. Not even in our own backyard here in the United States. Thousands of innocent children die each year in the US because they were unlucky enough to have been born poor - and the US government does not have the compassion to take care of its own people. We have spent nearly a trillion dollars on the Iraq war - a war waged on a people and country that had nothing to do with 9/11; we will spend 750 billion dollars bailing out wealthy individuals and wealthy corporations with zero oversight, and yet when it comes to saving some 20,000 Americans each year from preventable deaths, we claim that we just cannot afford it, and that it is socialism. Where is the compassion? What ever happened to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you?” What ever happened to “what you do to the least of your brothers, you do to me.”? And what ever happened to being “my brother’s keeper”?

And so if you have lots of anger and frustration and want to do something with it in your own backyard (wherever that may be) - then petition your government for universal health care. And if you are fortunate enough to live in a country where they do have universal health coverage - then lobby your government, your representative to help poorer countries get the medicine and care that they need.

President Obama - please do what is morally right - help take care of this great nation, help save 20,000 lives each year - and provide universal health care for all the people of the United States.