Why We Need Universal Healthcare, In One Story

Man kisses ailing wife, hurls her from balcony:

A man threw his seriously ill wife four stories to her death because he could no longer afford to pay for her medical care, prosecutors said in charging him with second-degree murder.
I'm going to stop there and give you a moment to catch your breath, and maybe grab a tissue, because it's going to get worse.

According to court documents filed Wednesday in Jackson County Circuit Court, Stanley Reimer walked his wife to the balcony of their apartment and kissed her before throwing her over.

The body of Criste Reimer, 47, was found Tuesday night outside the apartment building, near the upscale Country Club Plaza shopping district.

Stanley Reimer, 51, was charged Wednesday. … In the probable cause statement filed with the charges, police said Reimer was desperate because he could not pay the bills for his wife's treatment for neurological problems and uterine cancer.

…According to Jackson County Probate Court records, Criste Reimer had been in ill health for several years. Her weight had fallen to 75 pounds and she was partly blind. According to the court records, she had no health insurance to pay for medical bills that ranged from $700 to $800 per week.
Her monthly income, however, was $725.

Now, it's not clear from this story whether Stanley Reimer is really a man who deeply loved his wife and did what he did because he was crazed with desperation, or a man who simply didn't want to be burdened with a sick wife and exorbitant medical bills her income couldn't cover. I'd like to think it's the former, if I'm honest—but either way, it doesn't matter. According to his confession, he did it because he couldn't pay the medical bills. The plain truth is, if she'd had access to healthcare, she'd be alive.

The hat tip goes to Shaker Christine, who adds she's "more than willing to bet that acts similar to this happen all the time, just not as dramatically," which is certainly true. We also know, for example, that the lack of healthcare is a contributing factor to many abortions, with 73% of women citing "Can't afford a baby now" as their reason for seeking an abortion.

In the qualitative sample, of women who stated that they could not afford to have a child now, the majority had children already. Financial difficulties included the absence of support from the father of either the current pregnancy or the woman’s other children, anticipating not being able to continue working or to find work while pregnant or caring for a newborn, not having the resources to support a child whose conception was not planned and lacking health insurance.
Additionally, about one-fourth of participants in the qualitative sample cited her own health or possible health problems with the fetus as reasons for the abortion, citing concerns including "a lack of prenatal care."

Anti-choicers can continue barking their "perfect world" bullshit sanctimony about how no woman who can't have a baby should ever get pregnant, but that just isn't going to happen—and even if it did, it still wouldn't stop circumstances from changing; anti-choicers may have noticed their god likes to play a little trick sometimes in which he snatches Daddy to heaven before Baby's even born. The truth of the matter is that universal healthcare will prevent abortions. End of story.

And it would have prevented Criste Reimer from dying by being flung over a balcony. Hell, it might have even stopped her from dying of uterine cancer before age 50.

But the attitude of the anti-universal healthcare brigade seems to be approximately as sophisticated, compassionate, and rooted in reality as the anti-choicers': Don't get sick if you don't have healthcare coverage.

Advice as practical as it is kind.

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