Not Having Health Insurance Leads to Death; Ergo, Preventing Others from Getting It is Killing Them

In 2009 during the debate over the law that would eventually become the Affordable Care Act, Florida Congressman Alan Grayson made the argument that “Republicans want you to die quickly“, reasoning that, if not havign health insurance kills “45,000 people per year” in America, and Republicans are against universal health insurance coverage, Republicans are therefore contributing to the death of those 45,000 people every year.

To me, it seemed a cutting, but 100% logically sound argument. To the right though, which regularly says that the President is actively trying to enslave the country, wants America to be overrun by Islamic Fundamentalists, is opening FEMA internment camps, or just plain ‘ol “hates ‘Murica“, it was the summation of everything wrong with our politics. Hyper-partisanship had obviously gone too far, now, since it wasn’t just Republicans lobbing “over-the-top” rhetorical bombs, but now Democrats were getting in on the act, too. That was just not OK.

Any they won! Grayson became a top target of Republicans in the Sunshine state and lost his seat in the 8th congressional district. Luckily for Democrats who like to see their ilk not be intimidated by team red, the Democrat made a comeback in 2012, and was elected to represent Florida’s 9th. It’s been a few years since Grayson’s comments, so let me remind everyone.

Not having health insurance is proven to be DEADLY. That’s not hyperbole– you are much, much more likely to die if you do not have health insurance than if you do, everything else being equal. It is still the case that, all things being equal, if you want to stop people from getting life-saving health insurance, by, say, rejecting your state’s Medicaid expansion to cover indigent citizens for political reasons, it is inarguable that you are contributing to the eventual death of some of those citizens.

Get over it, conservatives. Policies have impacts. Sending thousands of young troops to the wrong country causes some of them to die before they should have and gutting safety regulations in industrial sites causes blue-collar workers to be killed in workplace accidents that could have been avoided. And when the Roosevelt Institute says that repealing Obamacare would mean 32,000 more deaths per year than with the ACA, or 45,000 per year as the linked Harvard study found, denying people affordable health insurance for political reason causes them to die of otherwise preventable illnesses, and makes them more likely to come down with them in the first place.


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