Despite the fact that one of his supporters recently shot at a Republican congressmen, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is spewing violent rhetoric about the Senate's version of Trumpcare:
When questioned by Chuck Todd about his rhetoric on NBC's Meet The Press, Sanders tried to justify it by claiming that "study after study" proved his point.
"When you throw 23 million off of health insurance, people with cancer, people with health care, people with diabetes, thousands of people will die," Sanders bloviated. "I wish I didn't have to say it. This is not me. This is study after study making this point."
Here are seven reasons why Sanders' hyperbolic statement is pure nonsense.
1. 23 million people won't be thrown off their health insurance if the Senate bill passes. That figure comes from the Congressional Budget Office's (CBO) analysis of one of the House versions of Trumpcare, and it was incorrect:
Health care policy wonk Avik Roy explains in Forbes that there are three fundamental problems with the CBO's analysis: they overestimate the amount of people enrolling in the Obamacare exchanges, they count people who choose not to purchase insurance under the individual mandate's repeal as uninsured and they include states choosing not to expand Medicaid as part of that total.
"You add all that up — 7 million off on future exchange enrollment, around 9 million off on the individual mandate’s power, and 3 million off on future Medicaid expansions — the CBO's estimate of the impact of the AHCA [American Health Care Act] on coverage is off by around 19 million, and that the real impact of the AHCA on coverage is negative 5 million," writes Roy, adding that his five million estimate could end up being smaller or larg
To be fair, Roy's analysis is based on the CBO's analysis of the House's version of Trumpcare in March; the 23 million figure comes from the version that eventually passed the House, which resulted in slightly fewer people being uninsured due to changes made to the bill. However, Roy's criticism of the CBO's flawed analysis still holds true, especially since the Senate bill resembles more of the March iteration of Trumpcare than the version that passed the House.
2. The Senate's iteration of Trumpcare keeps nearly 98% of Obamacare intact. Since the bill is mostly Obamacare, is Sanders admitting that thousands of people will die under Obamacare?
3. The "cuts" made to Medicaid under Trumpcare likely won't come to fruition. Daily Wire editor-in-chief Ben Shapiro explained:
Originally, the House bill would begin rolling back federal funding on a need-based basis beginning in 2020 and end the open-ended funding of expansion of Medicaid enrollees. The Senate bill would now begin the rollback in 2021, after the next election cycle, and in 2025 would create a growth cap on Medicaid payments linked to inflation rather than health cost inflation. This provides savings down the road … but those will never materialize, since Congress can always dump those cuts by the side of the road. As Suderman says, “The Medicaid provisions … may best be understood as budget gimmicks.”
Indeed, it's highly likely that a future Congress will overturn those cuts in eight years, even if it's a Republican Congress, since the Republicans have done little to show that they're interested in reducing the size of the federal government.
4. Even if the Medicaid reforms go through, studies have shown it's better to be uninsured than be enrolled in Medicaid. The Daily Wire highlighted some of those studies here; they boil down to the simple fact that "a lot of doctors don't accept Medicaid since it drastically underpays doctors; leaving those on Medicaid forced to wade through the bureaucratic quagmire to find a doctor that does."
5. The universal health care that Sanders has constantly advocated for is far more likely to result in deaths than Trumpcare. The higher costs, rationing and declining quality of care under universal health care have resulted in scores of unnecessary deaths in the countries in which it has been implemented, such as Venezuela and Britain.
6. Sanders has called for "Medicare for all," yet Medicare has a higher rate of denying claims than private insurers. Per The Daily Wire:
The American Medical Association (AMA), which endorsed the public option, found that Medicare denied claims at a rate of 4.92 percent in 2013. By contrast, Aetna, United Healthcare and Cigna denied claims at rates of 1.5 percent, 1.18 percent and 0.54 percent that year, respectively.
This also seems to be a trend. Medicare had "more than double any private insurer's average" in the AMA's 2009 report card.
Again, this seems to be more likely to result in deaths than Trumpcare.
7. Sanders is only saying this to gin up the Democrat Party's rabid far left base. And this is very irresponsible in light of the recent shooting, as Sanders' rhetoric will only inflame a volatile, tribalized political climate that has already seen a rise in political violence.