Naturally, there's little regret over Young's death on the radical left. Hardline bloggers are cynically exploiting this woman's status as uninsured to smear Republicans as greedy and heartless. Here's a look at the headlines:
* Daily Kos, "Kimberly Young RIP - Wall Street Care Snuffs Another Candle." As noted there: "Much like the recent immolation of everything Wall Street touches, human error and Mother Nature have exposed the Status Quo for what it is: Greed triumphing violently over compassion, common sense and decency." In other words, blame the evil capitalists for the death of Kimberly Young.Well, actually Ms. Young didn't have to "put off treatment." But let's just put aside the notion that Ms. Young actually chose to go without health insurance. Perhaps due to unaffordability she decided to forego a policy. Okay, sure. But then, why wait until at the edge of death's door to seek care at Ohio's public hospitals? That's simply irresponsible. People should seek care for themselves, even if uninsured.
* HCAN, "22 Year Old Dead From Swine Flu Because of Delayed Care." Here's this from author Jason Rosenbaum, "Health insurance companies have priced people like Young - young, normal, hardworking - out of the market, and because of skyrocketing premiums, fewer and fewer employers offer health care as a benefit ... public health insurance option is needed to increase competition and keep the insurance industry honest so they can't delay care even if they want to." Well, that's an utterly shameless plug for ObamaCare. I'm sure HCAN is on the edge of their seats waiting for more young people to die for lack of insurance.
* Victor Zapanta at Think Progress, "Uninsured 22-Year-Old Boehner Constituent Dies From Swine Flu." According to Zapanta, "Kimberly Young graduated from Miami University in December and continued to live in Oxford, Ohio, within Minority Leader John Boehner’s congressional distrct." Okay, let's put responsibility for this woman's death right at the top of the GOP congressional leadership.
* Steve Benen at the Washington Monthy, "KIMBERLY YOUNG.... What a Very Sad Story." Benen explains: "Her roommate's mother said Young worked several jobs, none of which offered insurance. She eventually went to a public hospital's emergency room after showing signs of kidney failure and dehydration. In critical condition, she was soon after transferred to another facility, where she died." So, Ms. Young made a decision to ride out the illness until she became dehydrated, and of course, that's also the fault of the heartless American system: "In every modern democracy on the planet, those who get sick don't have to put off treatment because they lack coverage. It's time the United States join them."
And unfortunately, had Ms. Young - perhaps before her emergency room visit - done a quick search online she would have detemined that Ohioans benefit from a robust netork of free healthcare clinics. For example, checking the homepage for the Ohio Association of Free Clinics indicates that Ohio's free clinics provide "Hope for the hurt. Healing for the suffering. Medications for the sick. Treatment for people who are ill." And also, "OAFC member clinics provided more than 106,000 visits to nearly 55,000 uninsured and underinsured patients in 2008."
Checking around further online we find the Free Medical Clinic of Greater Cleveland. As noted there: "The mission of The Free Medical Clinic of Greater Cleveland ('The Free Clinic') is to provide quality health care and related services free of charge to those who lack appropriate alternatives, and to advocate for policy changes that make health care available to all."
Reading the clinic's homepage, it's clear that Ms. Young would have been extremely unlikely to have been denied services. And even is she had, the state of Ohio has launched "Health Care Coverage Reform Initiative," which is an effort by the state government to get all of the state's citizens insured by 2011. A quick look at the website indicates a huge network of resources, incuding information on providers for the uninsured. The program, in particular, seeks to provide access to those not insured by their employers and for those not eligible for traditional public programs.
So what can we conclude? Well, while tragic, Ms. Young's death may have been avoidable. It's not clear from the available news information, but this woman apparently chose not to take advantage of the ready health services available in her state - and these services were within the longstanding public/private model of health services delivery (the health clinics being tax-exempt service agencies).
I recall, in 2000, before I landed my current teaching position, my family was uninsured. My wife's state-sponsored workplace COBRA plan was too expensive. Yet, my oldest son required substantial treatment. My wife and I paid out of pocket for most of his care. But we also visited local free clinics, which helped us pay for medications. I knew that our need for services would be temporary, and when I was employed full-time by the fall of 2000 I had workplace health insurance coverage again. But had my son come under serious illness, my wife and I would not have delayed seeking care for two-weeks for fear of cost. That's a matter of personal responsiblity, and should anyone come under similar circumstances, I'd be very hesitant to blame my congressperson or the "greedy" capitalists on Wall Street for the crisis.
No one is saying we can't develop a better system of coverage for those without access. But leftists hate the system we have, and in this case they're overlooking the fact that Ms. Young may well have made foolish decisions. Those on the Democratic-left are all too happy to excoriate conservatives as evil, when the facts suggest a sadly regretable tale of failed personal responsiblity.
Added: See also, Right Wing Nut House, "YOUNG, STUPID THINK PROGRESS RESEARCHER LOSES SANITY IN PUBLIC":
Liberals were right when they warned us that Republicans opposed health insurance reforms because they want you to die. That poor young girl should have listened. If she had only had the courage to go against the wishes of her Congressman and buy health insurance, she would be alive today. But Boehner is a sneaky one. He used all of his wiles, all of his GOP MoJo Magic to make that poor girl decide that at age 22, she was indestructible and didn’t need health insurance - a waste of money, that.UPDATE: From the Middletown Journal, "Report: Miami Grad Did Not Die of Swine Flu." Also, JammieWearingFool links!