Most fundamentally, health law saves lives

In the debate about the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, what seems to be forgotten is its principal goal: to provide health insurance to those who don't have it. In its Nov. 14 issue, the New England Journal of Medicine recalls the 2009 study published in the American Journal of Public Health suggesting that nearly 45,000 Americans die each year because they do not have health insurance. As a physician, every day I am confronted with the terrible consequences of trying to treat a patient with a chronic disease such as diabetes or cancer but who has no health insurance. The NEJM titles the article "Dead Man Walking" and that is exactly what it is.

The American College of Physicians, the American Medical Association and the Society of General Internal Medicine have all endorsed the principle of universal health care coverage. Universal health care is a moral, vital issue for all of us. The ACA is a step forward and should be supported.

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