There is no shortage of evidence showing that the Trumpcare bill recently stalled in the Senate is toxic and harmful. It would cause 22 million Americans to lose their health care over the next decade. Medicaid protections for seniors and people with disabilities, including long-term care, would be threatened. Affordable coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions—including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and even pregnancy—would no longer be guaranteed. Health care plans would no longer be required to cover essential services that can keep preventable conditions from becoming deadlier and costlier. And premiums for low- and middle-income seniors just under the Medicare eligibility age would rise dramatically.
But Trumpcare wouldn’t just threaten affordable and adequate care for millions of Americans. The bill would cause tens of thousands of unnecessary and preventable deaths each year. Even under a conservative estimate, Trumpcare could kill at least 200,000 Americans over the next decade. Seniors, people with disabilities, children and working families would all be at risk.
This isn’t hysterical hand wringing or partisan backlash, as advocates of the bill and conservative pundits have claimed. It is pure and simple truth. The logic of how Trumpcare could cause so many unnecessary and preventable deaths is so astonishingly simple that it can be boiled down into just a few bullet points:
Trumpcare would eliminate health care coverage for millions of Americans, and sharply reduce the quality and affordability of care for millions more.
Without affordable and comprehensive health care coverage, individuals are forced to forgo consistent and comprehensive care that enables them to monitor their health, detect preventative conditions, and maintain treatable illnesses. Many skip critical primary care or lifesaving medications because they simply cannot afford them.
As individuals continue to go without necessary care, their conditions worsen and become more expensive. They get poorer and sicker. Many die.
Americans know that guaranteed coverage for pre-existing conditions and essential health benefits—along with expanded Medicaid eligibility and subsidies for health care premiums—has literally saved lives and kept costly conditions from bankrupting households. They have shared their stories and voiced their opposition to Trumpcare’s deadly proposals, over and over again.
Now, the burden of proof is on the GOP masterminds who designed the bill and are calling for it to become law: Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, and Health and Human Services secretary Tom Price. For years, they have railed against Obamacare and promised a better alternative. Yet their promised substitutes have proven cruel and heartless, intended only to create profits for health care corporations and the wealthy at the expense of the nation’s health. This should be no surprise—even before Trump’s election, Tom Price and Paul Ryan were drafting legislation that revealed their true intentions: bills that would destroy Medicaid and fundamentally undermine Medicare, replete with giveaways to drug companies and billionaires.
Now that Trumpcare’s architects have the means to make their health care nightmare a reality, the true impacts of their pro-corporate, anti-government ideology are coming to light. Not surprisingly, the American people overwhelmingly disapprove of the GOP’s harsh vision. They know that even if Trumpcare doesn’t hurt them today, it could hurt them tomorrow; that healthy and hardworking people can face a severe illness or injury that requires comprehensive care at any moment; and that having health care is worthless if it cannot protect them—without impoverishing them—when they need it.
If the GOP is intent on forcing their harmful bill on the American people, they must be honest about what it would do. Trumpcare would strip millions of Americans of health insurance and make health care coverage worthless and unaffordable for millions more. Trumpcare would destroy Medicaid—a program that now touches the lives of most American families—as we know it. And Trumpcare would kill Americans.