Video: Ensign on Why Gun Deaths Shouldn't Be Factored Into Survival Rates: "We Like Our Guns Here in the U.S."
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Today in the Senate Finance Committee markup of health care legislation, Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) tried to make the case that the U.S. system is the best in the world and bristled at data that the country lags in halting preventable deaths compared to other industrialized nations. Ensign argued that those comparisons are unfair because they include deaths from auto accidents and gun violence, which are unique “cultural factors”:
ENSIGN: When you take into account cultural factors — the fact that we drive cars a lot more than any other country; we are much more mobile.
If you take out accidental deaths due to car accidents, and you take out gun deaths — because we like our guns in the United States and there are a lot more gun deaths in the United States — you take out those two things, you adjust those, and we actually better in terms of survival rates.
Basically, Ensign is proud of U.S. “cultural factors” that, as he admits, kill thousands of Americans each year. Instead of trying to improve the health care system to better address injuries from cars and guns, Ensign would like to just wipe them off the books and ignore them because they’re so unique to America.
Amanda Terkel is Deputy Research Director at the Center for American Progress and serves as Deputy Editor for The Progress Report and ThinkProgress.org at the Center for American Progress.