Huffpost Politics

Rick Santorum Disputes That People Die Because Of A Lack Of Health Insurance

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RICK SANTORUM IOWA UNINSURED
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Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum challenged students during a question and answer session Monday night at Drodt College, a small conservative Christian school in Northwest Iowa.

A freshman student pressed Santorum on healthcare. "With all due respect Sen. Santorum, 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," said Ryan Walters, according to CNN.

After questioning the student on his numbers, Santorum rejected them. "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. And people make poor decisions with respect to their health and their healthcare," he said. "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."

A 2009 Harvard Medical School study published in the American Journal of Public Health showed that 45,000 deaths per year are associated with a lack of health insurance, and uninsured, working-age Americans have a 40 percent higher risk of death than their privately insured counterparts.

Santorum defended health insurers Friday in New Hampshire on the issue of pre-existing conditions. "We have a child who has a pre-existing condition and we went out and we said, we like this plan," he said. "We have to pay more because she has a pre-existing condition. Well, we should pay more. She's going to be very expensive to the insurance company and, you know, that cost is passed along to us... I'm okay with that." He then went onto compare health insurance rates to auto insurance rates. Santorum favors repealing the health care law President Barack Obama signed and replacing it with "consumer driven" reforms.

In the same appearance, Santorum took a question from a student who compared gay marriage to interracial marriage and pressed him why it would be "a hit to faith and family in America." He responded by saying that if gay marriage was legalized then "their sexual activity" would be seen as "equal" to heterosexual relationships and it would be "taught in our schools."

Santorum has made more campaign stops in Iowa than any other Republican presidential candidate, yet he netted just six percent support among likely Republican Caucus-goers according to a Des Moines Register poll released Saturday.

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