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Facing the Facts: Death as a US "Social Disease"

by Deborah Archie

Patients wait to be seen by a
Many uninsured citizens have depended on free clinics to address health needs. The Volunteers in Medicine Clinic, operates in the basement of the Oasis of Love Church in St. Charles, MO.
Image by: Mike DuBose
Source: United Methodist News Service
Deborah Archie.
Deborah Archie is a lawyer and faith-based social activist; she serves throughout the West Ohio Conference to connect the church and community through education, advocacy and community organizing around social justice issues related to global and domestic poverty.
Image by: Mission Personnel

Each year 18,000 people in the United States die prematurely from preventable disease. Poverty and unequal access to life-saving drugs and medical care have made death itself a social disease in the country. Our health-care system is broken; many proposals for fixing it are being put forth. Citizens are rallying at the state level and meeting with legislators to demand change.

The US spends $100 billion a year on health care for the uninsured, yet 47 million people are without health insurance. Many resort to hospital emergency rooms, and those who receive care there are 3.6 times more likely to die in the hospital than those with insurance.

Why is this? Why do uninsured patients admitted to hospitals receive lower quality care and fewer services? Why are they at a greater risk of dying in the hospital or shortly after being discharged? The uninsured with chronic health conditions are less likely to have regular checkups. Uninsured children and adults are 30 percent less likely to receive preventative care, increasing the likelihood of advanced conditions before diagnosis and of earlier death.

After traumatic injuries, uninsured patients receive fewer diagnostic tests and medical services. Uninsured women with breast cancer are 30-50 percent more likely to die sooner than women who have insurance.

Having a job is no guarantee of health insurance because many workers cannot afford the cost of health insurance premiums, and many small businesses are finding it too expensive to provide health-care benefits for their workers. Every minute, nearly five people lose their insurance. While one in 11 whites is uninsured, that statistic increases to one in five for African Americans and one in three for Hispanics.

Wealth should not determine one's health; learn what you can do to ensure that "the least of these" receive quality, affordable, and accessible health care; consider these actions:

  • Pray for health-care justice and contact your congressional representative and ask them to fix health care now by supporting equitable health-care reform.
  • Host a "Health-Care Sabbath" service of worship or educational event on health-care reform in your local church or community. For educational resources on health-care reform, go to: For a Health-Care Sabbath toolkit, go to: (Stay in Love with God section).
  • Support mission personnel, including Church and Community Workers, engaged in health ministries.

Statistics come from Families USA [], Universal Health-Care Action Network [], and the 2004 Family Health Survey.

Deborah Archie is a Church & Community Worker serving at the Church For All People, Columbus, Ohio. Her work involves grassroots organizing aimed at health reform.

See United Methodists Struggle with Health Care Reform.

Your local church may choose to enter into a multi-year Covenant Relationship with Deborah Archie,  or other United Methodist missionaries, for ongoing support of their work. For further information, please contact:

The Advance
General Board of Global Ministries
475 Riverside Dr, #350
New York, NY 10115
Phone: 212-870-3718
Fax: 212-870-3775



You can make gifts to support the mission work of Deborah Archie, by making a donation through The Advance. The Advance is an accountable, designated giving arm of The United Methodist Church that ensures 100% of each gift reaches its intended mission or ministry.

Make a secure gift online: Visit Global Ministries Online Giving

Checks may be written to 'Advance GCFA' and placed in collection plates at United Methodist churches, or mailed directly to:

Advance GCFA,
P.O. Box 9068, GPO,
New York, NY 10087-9068.

Credit card donations may be made by calling
(888) 252-6174.

Please note on your check the name and The Advance Number of the missionary you are supporting:

Deborah Archie, Advance Number: 3020924
>> Biography

See Also...
Topic: Children Health Poverty United Methodist Church Women Focus on Global Health
Geographic Region: United States
Source: GBGM Mission News

arrow icon. View Listing of Missionaries Currently Working in: United States   

Date posted: Aug 20, 2009