Here Comes Trouble: Stories from My Life

"Outstanding…Moore Triumphs! Publishers Weekly

Mike & Friends Blog

Donna Smith

Donna Smith, American SiCKO, is executive director of the Health Care for All Colorado Foundation

October 27th, 2009 5:50 PM

Why Isn't 122 Dead Americans Every Day a National Health Emergency?

Why does H1N1 call for a Presidential designation as a national emergency while the preventable deaths of 45,000 Americans every year (122 every day) is not?

Swine flu leads the news. You can die from swine flu, or should we say H1N1, even if you have no underlying health conditions. Young people have died, and pregnant women are at risk. People are lining up to be vaccinated. Health professionals are at risk due to poor preparations at some health facilities. As many as 1,000 deaths have occurred due to this flu outbreak. It's scary out there.

But the swine flu is no match for the killing going on at the hands of the for-profit healthcare system in these United States. We bury kids, pregnant moms, babies, teens, young fathers, mid-lifers and older folks too without even batting an eye in the chambers of power in this nation.

Some have termed it the spine flu as they say it is the failure of our leadership to stand up to the money interests promoting and protecting this system. But it is worse than simply failing to stand up to the for-profit insurance industry, the big pharmaceutical companies, the large hospital conglomerates, the medical equipment profiteers and the financial service industry salivating at the prospects of more suffering and more want for healthcare in this nation.

There is no lack of spinal fortitude in this lot of legislators or in the Oval Office. They stand up to the American people just fine. We voted for a man who told us he knows healthcare is a basic human right yet we have a President who is not willing to issue a cease fire in this profit-driven healthcare war upon his own citizens. We swept in with him large numbers of Congressional members who said they got it -- they would stop the carnage at the hands of the broken system.

But we are told to wait. It's hard -- they say -- to get their bipartisan reform done. Blue Dogs might be upset. The Republicans want to protect the free market of death-care, and the Democrats want to stay in office. So they all stand up all right, they stand up for their own self-interests and the death count rises ever higher each day.

Yet, they dribble and dawdle and bumble and act as though it's just too damned difficult to immediately stop the losses. Extend Medicare like coverage to all, right now, and then haggle about the details later boys and girls.

Issue an executive order, President Obama. Declare a national emergency. No one else denied care when it is available. Save the lives of as many as you can right now. It could be that simple. Really.

It is a national health emergency in this nation when pregnant 24-year-olds like Jenny Fritts of Indiana are turned away for appropriate care because she doesn't have a way to pay for it and she dies along with her baby. It is a national emergency when teenagers like Nataline Sarkisyan are denied lifesaving treatments until protests grow loud enough to pressure the insurance industry and she dies due to that delay and the need to protest.

So, if the hospital that killed Jenny Fritts had treated her (and her unborn child) and was then worried about the money to cover her care, is that something we can fix? That's an issue we have time to haggle over. But the time to save Jenny came and went. We allowed her to be killed. And because we all know these deaths are happening every single day in every single state in this nation, we are all to be held to account.

The media doesn't help either. They are leading the news with the swine flu fears but completely ignoring the kids and moms and dads and neighbors dying underfoot for a lack of healthcare of any kind when they need it. Shameful excuse for journalism in most cases, I'm afraid.

A public health emergency is defined as "an occurrence or imminent threat of an illness or health condition, caused by bioterrism, epidemic or pandemic disease, or novel and highly fatal infectious agent or biological toxin, that poses a substantial risk of a significant number of human fatalities or incidents of permanent or long-term disability. Such illness or health condition includes, but is not limited to, an illness or health condition resulting from a national disaster."

What do we not understand about the appropriate role of our elected and democratic government to protect us from such a threat killing 122 of us every day? As far as I am concerned, the whole lot of them is not fulfilling their legal duties to me or to the rest of the citizens of this nation. They are failing in the most fundamental way to protect for the common welfare and common good of this nation.

Declare the emergency, Mr. President. Back him up, Speaker Pelosi and Senator Reid. Treat the sick. There is time to fight the payment battle. Healthcare is a basic human right in America.

Donna Smith is a community organizer for the California Nurses Association and National Co-Chair for the Progressive Democrats of America Healthcare Not Warfare campaign.

You must log in to comment.

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Log in | Register

FBI Uncovers Al-Qaeda Plot To Just Sit Back And Enjoy Collapse Of United States WASHINGTON—The FBI announced today that it has uncovered a...

Apr 15th
3:28 PM
Read More

Revealed: Rahm Emanuel's top donor bought stock in Marriott just before it was awarded huge contract As schools are closed and pensions cut,...

Apr 9th
2:00 PM
Read More

I'll be at First Time Fest today in New York City at the screening of my first film, Roger & Me. Loews Village 7 at 12:30 pm. Come see it on the big...

Apr 5th
9:48 AM
Read More

Revealed: Rahm Emanuel cuts public pensions, diverts money to benefit campaign donors If you've read the financial news out of Chicago the last...

Apr 4th
2:19 PM
Read More

Please take a moment today to think of Casey Austin Sheehan, son of Cindy and Patrick, who was murdered by U.S. foreign policy in Sadr City, Baghdad ten years...

Apr 4th
2:00 PM
Read More

ICYMI - I've joined this "thunderclap" to support the Connecticut legislators who voted yes on last year's Act Concerning Gun Violence...

Apr 3rd
7:38 PM
Read More

I've joined this "thunderclap" to support the Connecticut legislators who voted yes on last year's Act Concerning Gun Violence Prevention...

Apr 2nd
8:27 PM
Read More

I am opposed to the death penalty, but to every rule there is usually an exception, and in this case I hope the criminals at General Motors will be arrested...

Apr 1st
3:55 PM
Read More

How Long Some in the US Will Survive Under New Health Law Donna Smith Those who must access care to live and can afford it are not...

Mar 31st
10:13 PM
Read More

Last night, The Good Wife on the East Coast started 40 minutes late due to the overrun of the NCAA basketball game. If you had your DVR set for the show, you...

Mar 24th
5:41 PM
Read More

Watching films today, looking for the ones I'm going to pick for my film festival this summer. I (and a whole bunch of others!) have this thing we put on...

Mar 23rd
4:48 PM
Read More

When the U.S. Health Care System Keeps Killing, Who Cares Enough to Fight? Donna Smith We have largely forgotten that people are at...

Mar 21st
5:56 PM
Read More

Tell the White House not to give up on Dr. Vivek Murthy's nomination as Surgeon General despite the ferocious opposition from the NRA: Don't give...

Mar 21st
5:38 PM
Read More

This criminal would never see a jail cell, nor would his cronies. In fact, they'd later be rewarded with re-election: Presidential Address on War with...

Mar 19th
9:40 PM
Read More

The crime of the century -- our invasion & slaughter in Iraq -- started 11 years ago tonite in this 7pm (ET) hour, March 19th, 2003: CNN Coverage of...

Mar 19th
9:08 PM
Read More

Washington’s Back-to-the-Future Military Policies in Africa Nick Turse Nick Turse is an award-winning journalist, historian,...

Mar 17th
4:59 PM
Read More

"I think democracy is the most revolutionary thing in the world." -- Tony Benn, 1925-2014 Tony Benn in 'Sicko'

Mar 14th
10:07 AM
Read More

RIP Tony Benn, one of the UK's greatest leaders: Tony Benn, veteran Labour politician, dies aged 88 Former cabinet minister died at...

Mar 14th
9:53 AM
Read More

Please read this important story from K. Ford K.: Am I the Face of the New American Middle Class? I began to feel I had slipped so low...

Mar 13th
2:24 PM
Read More

Yesterday Dianne Feinstein revealed that the CIA has been spying on the Senate Intelligence Committee. This is all about the report the committee has produced...

Mar 12th
6:48 PM
Read More

Health Care for All Colorado has brought Mercy Killers, a show written and performed by Michael Milligan about our murderous for-profit healthcare system, to...

Mar 10th
1:08 PM
Read More

Health Care Dramas that Sting and Why We Have to Watch Donna Smith The realities Milligan has written into the show cut deep into...

Mar 10th
1:02 PM
Read More

Did you know the Lehrer Newshour on PBS has been produced for 20 years by a company owned by conservative cable billionaire John Malone? Me neither. After...

Mar 7th
8:39 PM
Read More

Mr. Obama, if int’l law is so damn crucial . . . | The Russian intervention deserves criticism. But let’s be clear. The...

Mar 6th
1:21 PM
Read More

Enron billionaire John Arnold thinks everyone should believe him when he says we've got to cut pensions because he's so incredibly rich: John...

Mar 5th
4:20 PM
Read More

More in David Sirota's continuing series on the billionaire takeover of PBS: More PBS conflict woes as activists move to eject David Koch from board of...

Mar 3rd
12:35 PM
Read More

Ukraine: One ‘Regime Change’ Too Many? Ray McGovern Is “regime change” in Ukraine the bridge too far for the neoconservative...

Mar 2nd
9:25 PM
Read More

Latest from David Sirota on Enron billionaire John Arnold smuggling anti-pension propaganda into "neutral" institutions like PBS and now, the...

Mar 1st
12:58 PM
Read More

Second Guessing a Life: US Health Care System Robs Security and Human Dignity Donna Smith The dysfunction of the US health care system...

Feb 27th
1:40 PM
Read More

Subscribe to Mike's Blog RSS

Click here to suggest an article

Mike's Blog

See More Blogs

Vew the archives

View older articles