Utah's four congresspersons just voted together with their Republican caucus to repeal the Affordable Care Act and substitute the AHCA in its place. Then they rejoiced in the Rose Garden. They haven’t yet killed the ACA, but they drew first blood and felt the urge to celebrate their tribal victory. Their victims, however, were not the other party’s combatants. The blood they drew was from the children and elderly who this will inevitably kill.
Here are the numbers. A 2009 Johns Hopkins study of 23 million hospitalizations showed that a child who happens to be uninsured and is admitted to a hospital has a 60 percent increased risk of dying compared to a similar child who is lucky enough to be insured. This increase in risk holds across all causes for hospitalization (illness, injury, cancer, birth defects), despite receiving the same level of care in that hospital. The authors calculated that over 17,000 children died for lack of insurance in the past two decades. For adults, lack of health care coverage increases the risk of dying by 40 percent. This is equivalent to the increased risk from being a heavy smoker.
Access to health care saves lives. Denying 24 million Americans that access will result in very many unnecessary deaths.
A total of $880 billion were taken from Medicaid, the safety net that serves children, the disabled and the elderly, just to give a $600 billion tax break to the rich.
Chaffetz, Love, Stewart and Bishop all callously voted to spill the blood of children, to earn our red state votes. They can no longer have mine.
William E. Cosgrove, MD