We’re all going to die. Many of us, however, hope to put that day off as long as possible.
That insight appears to be lost on Fox News’ Lisa Kennedy Montgomery. During a discussion about Senate Republicans’ decision to temporarily pull the plug on Trumpcare on Tuesday evening, Kennedy criticized progressive “hysteria” about the bill, which would cost 22 million Americans their health care, since “we’re all going to die” anyway.
“You know what, at least they are not employing any hyperbole at all. No exaggeration, no hysteria,” she said. “You know what the crazy thing is? We’re all going to die. And they can’t predict — there’s no way unless they are absolutely psychic and have a party line to heaven, they don’t know who’s going to die or when or how many people.”
The connection between having health care and lower mortality rates is well understood. One study looking at states that enacted Medicaid expansions in the early 2000s relative to neighboring ones that didn’t found “a significant decrease in mortality over five years of follow-up.”
“A subsequently analysis showed the largest decreases were for deaths from ‘health-care-amenable’ conditions such as heart disease, infections, and cancer, which are more plausibly affected by access to medical care,” the New England Journal of Medicine writes.
Another study of “Medicaid’s mortality effects” found “one life saved for every 239 to 316 adults who gained coverage.” The health care bill Senate Republicans pulled the plug on would’ve resulted in 15 million Americans losing Medicaid over the next decade.
Kennedy’s talking point was extreme, but she’s not the only commentator in denial about the connection between health insurance and lower mortality rates.
"You can't talk about people DYING from losing access to health care" might literally be the dumbest argument in the history of the Internet pic.twitter.com/clxckojyF9
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) June 27, 2017
It’s not like Republican members of Congress have been using talking points that are a whole lot more effective, however. During a Fox News interview that aired Tuesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) portrayed health care coverage as an oppressive burden that low-income Americans would freely discard. Senate Republicans have been unable to identify specific provisions of the bill that would benefit their constituents. Trump has avoiding talking about the bill, instead focusing his fire on Obamacare, which his administration is actively working to sabotage.
An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll released Wednesday finds that the Senate bill is just as unpopular as the House version, with an approval rating of 17 percent.