And it’s five, six, seven, open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain’t no time to wonder why,
Whoopie! We’re all gonna die!
Who really cares about 15 million Americans losing their insurance next year alone if the GOP health care bill is passed by the Republican-held Senate? We’re all going to die in the end, anyway.
At least, that’s the rationale employed in an argument on Fox News Wednesday. After airing statements from Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, both warning the passage of the divisive bill could result in thousands of deaths across the nation, the far-right network’s Lisa Kennedy Montgomery countered the left with her own attention-grabbing one-liner.
“You know what the crazy thing is?” she said to her fellow hosts, chuckling after each soundbite from the Democrats. “We’re all gonna die. And they can’t predict—there, there’s no way, unless they’re absolutely psychic and have a party-line to heaven, they don’t know who is going to die, or when, or how many people!”
The argument that cutting health care access for at least 22 million people by 2026—a figure the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released this week—cannot be statistically measured with an increase in death rates is simply untrue.
Multiple studies over the course of decades have consistently reflected a decrease in deaths from treatable diseases when there is increased access to coverage. A New England Journal of Medicine report states “the largest decreases [in death rates] were for deaths from ‘health care amenable’ conditions such as heart disease, infections and cancer, which are more plausibly affected by access to medical care.”
“Beginning with the Institute of Medicine’s 2002 report Care without Coverage, some analyses have suggested that lack of insurance causes tens of thousands of deaths each year in the United States,” the journal wrote in its report, titled “Health Insurance Coverage and Health—What the Recent Evidence Tells Us.”
“Several quasi-experimental studies using population-level data and longer follow-up offer more precise estimates of coverage’s effect on mortality,” it continues. “One study compared three states implementing large Medicaid expansions in the early 2000s to neighboring states that didn’t expand Medicaid, finding a significant 6% decrease in mortality over 5 years of follow-up.”
In other words, Fox was presenting fake news in stating there is simply no way to tell whether having health care access can save lives.
Despite empirical evidence and hard data sets undermining the entire basis of their argument, Republican pundits and Fox News personalities are continuing to slam Democrats for their remarks about the GOP’s health care bill and defend their view points with extremely low bars—including the fact that, yes, one day all of us will die. The chyron displayed on Fox News as Montgomery provided her talking point stated in bold wording: “Dems Continue Outrageous Rhetoric on Health Care Bill.”
Displayed with permission from Newsweek