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US health care cuts are costing lives

Health care cuts in the US are costing lives, argues one American citizen in this week's BMJ.

Lori Smith, a representative of the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign in Tennessee, believes that plans to dismantle national social programmes for sick and poor people throughout the US are leading to suffering and death.

There has been a tendency to believe that poverty, hunger, homelessness, and lack of health care are nearly non-existent in the US, she writes. After all, the US is the richest country in the world. However, human rights violations and suffering are prevalent and growing rapidly.

She describes how, after losing her job and accompanying health insurance through illness, she was one of 150,000 people removed from Tennessee's medical programme (TennCare) under government plans to cut health spending.

These are the largest cuts in US history, and deaths have already occurred as a result, she says. For the 1.1 million who remain on the programme, only the cheapest medical care will be available, without regard to professional medical standards.

There is enough money to provide health care for all, she argues. The US government knows it, yet it is allowing this to happen at the expense of human lives, while the healthcare industry is reaping record profits.

She is committed to breaking the silence over these cuts and taking action. She calls on others around the world to join her in bringing national and international attention to human rights violations in the US.


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Contact: Emma Dickinson
edickinson@bmj.com
44-20-7383-6529
BMJ-British Medical Journal
27-Oct-2005


Page: 1

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