Santorum Says Americans Die From “Bad Choices”

Rick Santorum The 2012 Presidential election is still pretty far away. Even so, it is a good idea to keep track of what individual candidates think about health insurance. Rick Santorum thinks that Americans die because of “bad choices”, and that it has nothing at all to do with lack of health insurance.

Rick Santorum recently held a question and answer session with students from Dordt College, (which is a Christian college in Iowa). Rick Santorum is one of the people who is hoping to become the Republican Presidential candidate for the 2012 election.

A student named Ryan Walters asked: “If not for our social programs, how can we as a society care for our poor?”

Rick Santorum answered that it was up to the individual to provide for the poor. I’m not entirely certain what, exactly, he meant by that response. The student then commented: “I don’t think God appreciates the fact that we have 50 – 100 thousand uninsured Americans dying due to a lack of healthcare every year”. The student backed up this number by citing his source, a 2009 Harvard study. That study showed that 45,000 people die each year in the United States because of lack of health insurance.

Here is the response given by Rick Santorum: “I reject that number completely, that people die in America because of lack of health insurance. People die in America because people die in America.” He went on to say “And people make poor decisions with respect to their health and their healthcare. And they don’t go to the emergency room or they don’t go to the doctor when they need to. And it’s not the fault of the government for not providing some sort of universal benefit”.

It is worth noting that Rick Santorum was among the people standing on the stage at the GOP debate that happened in September of 2011, and took place at the Reagan Library. This was the debate that was hosted by Wolf Blitzer.

You may recall the portion of the debate where Wolf Blitzer was questioning Ron Paul about who should pay for a man who has a good job, but doesn’t have health insurance, if that man goes into a coma. Ron Paul answered with: “That’s what freedom is all about: taking your own risks”.

Wolf Blitzer then asked “But Congressman, are you saying that society should just let him die?” This was the point where someone in the audience yelled “Yeah!”, which was followed by much cheering. Not one of the GOP candidates on that stage said even one word to dispute that they believed that society should let an American in that situation “just die”.

Rick Santorum was among the candidates standing on that stage that night. Like the other GOP candidates at that debate, Santorum neglected to make any kind of statement that would dispute that he believed that society should just let the people who lack health insurance die if they ended up with a serious illness or injury.

Image by Gage Skidmore on Flickr

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About Jen Thorpe

I have a B.S. in Education and am a former teacher and day care worker. I started working as a freelance writer in 2010 and have written for many topics here at Families.com.