On Respectful Insolence, Orac writes “the relationship between health insurance and, well, health is a question that can be addressed scientifically, which puts it right smack dab within the purview of science-based medicine.” Orac contradicts Mitt Romney’s statement that because a 1986 mandate requires hospitals to treat anyone needing emergency treatment, people don’t die for want of insurance. Orac writes, “Emergency rooms are not equipped to treat complex conditions; all they can do is to treat the acute problem.” And forced to eat expenses, private hospitals are liable to treat any patient who “failed a wallet biopsy” like a hot potato. Studies show that about 20,000 Americans die every year because they lack insurance. And they don’t do so cheaply. On Denialism Blog, Mark Hoofnagle notes “some 55% of emergency room care goes uncompensated” and those costs are often transferred to other patients. He calls this “one big stupid cost-shifting game that ignores the central problem.” Hoofnagle continues, “what is the point of stabilizing a patient with COPD and asthma as they come in the hospital in crisis every month, rather than just paying for their medications as an outpatient?” As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.