Look, I get that using science and math to persuade you is probably a failed approach. Despite your commendable background as a businessman, you’ve ignored the settled science on climate change, preferring, it seems to believe that the planet’s rapid, dangerous warming is somehow disconnected from human activity no matter what scientists say.
But perhaps it’s just that the numbers and science of climate change are too large, too abstract, or too long-term to process. It’s hard to understand how changes of just a few degrees can lead to irreversible, global harm.
A new study, though, by two professors of public health offers you another chance to use science to save lives–in a direct, immediate way. Professors David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler finds that if Republicans do succeed in repealing the Affordable Care Act, 43,000 people a year will die who otherwise wouldn’t have. From the Washington Post:
The story is in the data: The biggest and most definitive study of what happens to death rates when Medicaid coverage is expanded, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that for every 455 people who gained coverage across several states, one life was saved per year. Applying that figure to even a conservative estimate of 20 million losing coverage in the event of an ACA repeal yields an estimate of 43,956 deaths annually.
The causes of the increased death a predictable list: reduced preventive care, diminished access to reproductive health services, states and insurers racing to the bottom in their coverage, and badly weakened health care in place for elderly Americans.
Republicans, if they trouble to answer these concerns, would have Americans believe that they will replace the Affordable Care Act with something better, despite their refusing to work to make the law better when it was written or work to reform it once it became law.
The simple truth is this: with majorities in both houses of Congress since 2014, the Republicans have failed to come up with a plan to replace the ACA. Sure, they’ve made promises to keep the popular parts of the bill, like protecting those with pre-existing conditions and allowing kids to remain on their parents’ coverage, but they’ve never explained how they would pay for those items, nor how they would ensure that insurers continue to offer the services. Instead, for years, they’ve ignored that healthcare costs and insurance rates would have climbed with or without the Affordable Care Act, wailed about tyranny while millions were able to receive regular health care for the first times in their lives, and worried more about political optics than practical policymaking.
And now we’re supposed to believe that they will implement a replacement? When their party’s leader, the new president, is offering nothing in the way of substance?
It’s probably rare, even for a Senator, to make decisions that are literally a matter of life and death. Senator Daines, you’ve actually managed to find your way on one of Sarah Palin’s imaginary “death panels” –and have the lives and health of hundreds of thousands of people in your hands. A few Republicans with the courage to admit that undermining the Obama legacy and rigid adherence to ideology are less important than the well-being of American citizens are all it would take to stop this ill-conceived, poorly reasoned, and badly rushed plan for taking effect.
The incalculable costs to families across the United States make it clear what the right thing to do is. Work to reform or even replace the Affordable Care Act if you must, Senator Daines, but please don’t rashly jeopardize the lives of thousands of Montanans. You have said repeatedly that you value human life. What better way to show it than to put aside partisanship and vote to save it?