In the article (May 8), "Poor Deprived of Medi-Cal Worse Off, Study Finds," the UCLA Medical Center researchers reveal that four of the 164 adults in the study died due to " . . . lack of access to treatment or uncoordinated medical care . . . " within a year of the California Legislature terminating benefits for " . . . 270,000 medically indigent adults . . . " in 1982.
Since approximately 2.44% of the control group died we can extrapolate that 2.44% of the 270,000, or 6,588, will have died statewide in the same period due to " . . . state and federal budget cutbacks . . . "
6,588 lost humans in a period that saw the federal deficit accumulated by all U.S. Presidents from Washington through Carter suddenly doubled under Ronald Reagan. 6,588 dead adult Californians in one of the years when America was supposedly "standing tall." What would the figure be nationwide?
Certainly much of responsibility rests with Ronald Reagan who led the nation in the destruction of an already faulty health-care program. But let's be honest.
Every legislator, federal and state, who acquiesced to these austerity cuts shares in the blame. Further, each of us who elected them and turned a deaf ear to the cries of the helpless must also share the responsibility for the deaths of 6,588 living, breathing and feeling people.
Our priorities seem askew when we clamor for revenge on "terrorists" whose body-count worldwide, over 10 years, may only approach California's one-year total caused by our rush toward "cost-effectiveness."
As president of the Ventura County American Civil Liberties Union, I speak and listen, daily, to the suffering living humans who need the services that have been cut. In a very small way I share their frustration in knowing that there are no longer services to keep them from joining the 6,588. They persevere alone and almost unnoticed.
When will we return to the real traditions that made this country great? We must realize that we are, indeed, our brothers and sisters keepers and the right to life is the first and greatest of our civil liberties.