Deaths of uninsured highlighted

Handprints symbolize 59 deaths daily from lack of health insurance.

By Barb Arland-Fye

More than 6,800 handprints have been collected throughout the country representing about one-third of Americans who die each year because they have no health insurance.

The handprints dramatize the fact that 22,000 citizens between the ages of 25 and 65 die each year because, without health insurance, they do not see or delay seeing a doctor or cannot afford the medications or treatment they need, according to Progressive Action for the Common Good of the Quad-Cities.

That organization organized a “Lend a Hand for Health Care Project” in which the handprints were displayed July 12 on large swatches on the floor of the Pepsico Center at Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill.

The handprints of President Barack Obama and Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa are among the 6,800 prints — in red and black — said Sister Pat Miller, CHM, a member of Progressive Action for the Common Good.

“Our health care system does not give access to all people, which to me is a moral obligation,” said Sr. Miller, who serves on Progressive Action’s health care committee.

She also believes an overhaul of the health care system is necessary because of a lack of coordination within the system that makes it more costly.

“Part of the problem has been in the inadequacy of the system to provide information from one health care system to another,” said Sr. Miller, who has been studying the health care issue and attended a recent forum presented by U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa.

Accessibility, affordability and equality for all people are components that Sr. Miller is hopeful will become part of a health care plan that Congress adopts.

She also seeks modernization of the health care system, expanded coverage and improved prevention and public health initiatives.

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