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This Idaho Republican Just Claimed “Nobody Dies Because They Don’t Have Access to Health Care”

In what may not even be the most egregious lie to come out of a Republican this week, Idaho representative and Freedom Caucus member Raúl Labrador argued that no one dies from lack of healthcare, despite a multitude of studies to the contrary.

To Labrador’s credit, he was actually holding a town hall, unlike many of his cowardly colleagues. One of the audience members rebuked him for the heartless AHCA. “You are mandating people on Medicaid accept dying,” said Labrador’s constituent. “You are making a mandate that will kill people.”

“No one wants anybody to die,” Labrador responded. “You know, that line is so indefensible. Nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care.”

The audience reacted with gasps and shouts of outrage and shock, as you can see in the above video.

Labrador’s vile, dismissive claim has no basis in fact.

Boing Boing points to a high-impact-factor study in the peer-reviewed American Journal of Public Health, which found that being uninsured increases your risk of death by 25%, and that “lack of health insurance is associated with as many as 44,789 deaths per year in the United States, more than those caused by kidney disease.” A 2017 study in the peer-reviewed Annals of Internal Medicine found that patients with cystic fibrosis in Canada live an average of 10 years longer than those in the United States, largely due to differences in our health care systems. The lead author, Doctor Anne L. Stephenson, was also careful to point out, “It seems people with no insurance have the worst outcomes compared to Canadians. That was the largest difference seen.”

Even Labrador’s home-state paper The Idaho Statesman cited the non-partisan Kaiser Foundation, which said, “Because people without health coverage are less likely than those with insurance to have regular outpatient care, they are more likely to be hospitalized for avoidable health problems and to experience declines in their overall health. When they are hospitalized, uninsured people receive fewer diagnostic and therapeutic services and also have higher mortality rates than those with insurance.”

Idaho is one of the twenty states that chose not to expand Medicaid coverage, as allowed under the Affordable Care Act. This cruelty has denied coverage to about 78,000 of the state’s working poor, including one highly publicized case where a woman died from an asthma attack after years of going without treatment due to lack of insurance.

At a previous town hall in April, Labrador also said, “I do not believe that healthcare is a basic human right.” That callousness drew this (again) deserved reaction:

In case you were starting to waver on whether someone would have to be a monster to vote for the AHCA – which three reps didn’t even read – Labrador wants us all to know that, yes, he is exactly as monstrous as you suspected.

(Via CBS News and Daily Dot; image via Shutterstock)

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