During his confirmation hearings, Rep. Tom Price, subsequently confirmed as Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, bragged that the Republican replacement for the Affordable Care Act (the “ACA,” also and more widely known as “Obamacare”) would give everyone “access to health care.”
Bernie Sanders immediately burst that sound bite bubble by noting that “having access” to health insurance doesn’t mean it is affordable: “I have access to buying a $10 million home. I don’t have the money to do that.”
According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, individual premiums will skyrocket and some 18 million Americans could lose their insurance if the ACA is repealed. As a recent leaked audiotape made clear, this is making Republicans nervous.
And with good reason. Whether Republicans know it or not, the vast majority of Americans are satisfied with their ACA plans, according to a poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation. http://kff.org/health-reform/poll-finding/survey-of-non-group-health-insurance-enrollees-wave-2/. Moreover, there is solid evidence that lack of health insurance is implicated in thousands of preventable deaths every year.
Peer-reviewed studies have reported that the “uninsured” face a 25%-40% increased risk of dying prematurely than the insured, according to the Factcheck.Org article “Dying from Lack of Insurance.”http://www.factcheck.org/2009/09/dying-from-lack-of-insurance/).
One study (conducted just prior to passage of the ACA, a time when some 45 million Americans lacked insurance) concluded that 45,000 people were dying annually because they lacked insurance. Applying that 1:1000 ratio to the estimated 18 million who will lose their insurance if the ACA is repealed, it is reasonable to project that Republicans will be responsible for some 18,000 preventable deaths every year.
Even if we fail to stop what might be termed Congressionally sanctioned manslaughter, we must ensure that Republicans pay a political price for the deaths that will result from their dismantling of the ACA. Here’s how:
- Urge your Democratic representatives and senators not to cooperate with Republican efforts to “replace” the ACA. Republicans must have sole ownership of the chaos and carnage that will result from their dismantling of the ACA.
- Advise your Republican representatives and senators that you strongly oppose the dismantling of the ACA and that they will be hearing from you in November of 2018 if they fail to heed your warning.
- Immediately begin referring to the Republican committees that are working to repeal the ACA as “death panels.” Unlike the death panels that were all the rage in 2010, these death panels are real and will actually kill people.
- And don’t wait for Republicans to actually propose a plan to “replace” the ACA (we’ve been waiting for that for years). Christen it the Unaffordable Care Act to remind people of the benefits they will be losing in the transition from Obamacare. And let’s make sure that it’s dead on arrival..