When HHS Secretary Tom Price left Jake Tapper speechless Sunday morning by claiming to cut $880 billion from Medicaid would actually benefit patients he was far from alone, and it was far from the Trump administration’s only lie about their second iteration of Trumpcare.
At a town hall at Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho, the Freedom Caucus’ Rep. Raúl R. Labrador took a step further into the outrageously fantastical by claiming in the face of objections that the American Health Care Act does not, in fact, provide Americans with health care,
“Nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care.”
That was Labrador’s response to a woman stating exactly what we, and many others, have been stating in response to the House passage of the AHCA:
Woman: “You are mandating people on Medicaid to accept dying.”
Labrador: “Nobody wants anybody to die. That line is so indefensible. Nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care.”
He was booed loudly. Actually, thousands of people die each year because they have no access to healthcare. As Bruce Lee wrote at Forbes in response, “The belief that health insurance has nothing to do with death is absurd.”
What is actually indefensible at this point is Trumpcare and anyone who defends it. People die all the time because they have no healthcare. In fact, all throughout history untold millions of people died from diseases or injuries that could have been treated had they access to healthcare.
Which brings us to the 24 million people who will eventually be left without insurance thanks to the Republican Party if Senate Republicans don’t show a modicum more sense than their House counterparts.
It would not be difficult, one would think, to have more sense than Raúl R. Labrador, who explained after the fact:
“I was responding to a false notion that the Republican health care plan will cause people to die in the streets, which I completely reject. In a lengthy exchange with a constituent, I explained to her that Obamacare has failed the vast majority of Americans. In the five-second clip that the media is focusing on, I was trying to explain that all hospitals are required by law to treat patients in need to emergency care regardless of their ability to pay and that the Republican plan does not change that.”
If Obamacare is a failure, how much more so is Trumpcare, which covers 24 million fewer people?
And here again, we fall back on the old Republican fable that as long as we have emergency rooms, we don’t need medical insurance.
Yes, you can go to the hospital. You will also be billed full price for any treatment you receive.
Nor can a hospital save you from a disease that has gone too far because you have not had regular access to healthcare. It won’t pay for prescriptions you need to treat whatever condition is diagnosed.
Obviously, Obamacare was called the Affordable Care Act for a reason, a reason Republicans are determined to avoid, ignore and dismiss with the same blithe disregard they show millions of Americans seeking healthcare for themselves and their families.
It is impossible to escape the conclusion that President Obama cared. Raúl R. Labrador, who as a member of the Freedom Caucus has to own Trumpcare, does not.