This simple question requires only a yes or no answer. Do you know of a single person who died because they postponed treatment until it was too late because they did not have insurance coverage? I know of more than one, but only one is all that is required to answer this question with a "yes."
Bob was in his 50's. Bob and his wife became my friends when my sons were in grade school. They lived downstairs in my apartment building. Dorothy was a homemaker and had been all her life. They had lived in Somerset, Ky before moving to Ohio, when farming ceased to provide them with an adequate income. They had worked hard all their lives. They had raised their children and were enjoying being grandparents. The family farm had long been paid off and they wanted to keep it in the family for future generations. Bob and Dorothy would go down there once in awhile and would return with treats for us to share with our kids, such as sassafras root to make them sassafras tea. They practiced good, clean living. Neither smoked, drank alcohol, or was overweight. Being from a long line of farmers, they had an affinity for fresh fruit and vegetables. If they did eat fast food, I sure never saw it. The mouth-watering aromas from Dorothy's kitchen would waft into the hallway of our apartment building every day around 5 pm.
When they came up to Ohio, Bob started a carpentry business. Their living room was the business office. Dorothy answered the phone during the day and scheduled appointments for Bob. Bob employed a small crew. Like many tiny businesses and self-employed workers, health insurance was just out of the question. I had never known either Bob or Dorothy to ever be ill. Bob was the kind of man one would describe as "hale and hardy." He was also the kind of man who paid his bills religiously and believed that if you can't afford it, you do without it.
Bob caught a cold. Like many others, he couldn't afford to knock off work. Dorothy got him some cough syrup and he kept going. Bob's cold got worse. Dorothy was starting to worry. Bob wouldn't go to the doctor because they didn't have insurance and couldn't afford to pay the exorbitant prices of blood work, x-rays, doctor's visit fees, and the antibiotics that would surely be prescribed, out of pocket. The costs for all those services charged to an uninsured person is considerably more than the contract costs insurance companies get charged. Bob had men to pay and a wife to support. He was sure the chest cold would eventually get better and go away.
Dorothy told me that Bob woke up in the middle of the night, gasping for breath. She called 911. EMS took him to the local emergency room and he was admitted to intensive care with advanced, bilateral pneumonia. The pneumonia had progressed to the point that it was too late to save Bob. Bob died. Bob died because he delayed treatment because he had no health insurance to help him pay for it. There is no "yes, but..." The answer is simple. Bob is dead because he did not have health insurance to help him pay for treatment before it was too late.
Does lack of health insurance contribute to loss of life? Yes. I am inviting others to share the stories in this thread of those they know who died or came close to dying because they did not have health insurance. I ask that all responses be confined to the question at hand: Does lack of health insurance contribute to loss of life in our country?