We know that some Republican controlled states have refused the Medicaid expansion portion of Affordable Care Act even though the federal government will fully fund it for the first three years and then after that will pay for at least 95% of the cost. By any measure, accepting the expansion should have been a no-brainer for the states and the only reason that it was refused is because those states did not want to do anything that might be construed as supporting Obamacare. As a result, poor people in those states who do not earn enough to qualify for the subsidies in Obamacare are left without any affordable insurance.
Harold Pollack looks at how many people will die because of this act of sheer cussedness. He examined a recent study that looked at the health outcomes of the plan introduced by Mitt Romney when he was governor of Massachusetts that is very similar to Obamacare.
Here’s their bottom-line result: Insurance coverage reduced mortality rates by about 30 percent. For every 830 people newly insured, Massachusetts prevented one death per year.
Massachusetts experienced the strongest survival benefits in low-income areas that contain many uninsured people. These counties look more like those in less-prosperous states most affected by health reform.
One thing is for sure. If anything close to these results apply, the ACA is saving many lives every year. The new law is projected to cover more than 20 million adults who would otherwise go uninsured. The Massachusetts estimates imply that the ACA will prevent something in the neighborhood of 24,096 deaths every year (simply: 20 million divided by 830). That’s more than twice the number of Americans killed in gun homicides. It’s considerably more than the number of Americans who die from HIV/AIDS.
Nearly 5 million low-income Americans are income-eligible for Medicaid under the ACA, yet live in states that now reject the Medicaid expansion. Within this rather small but critical low-income population, that same one-per-830 estimate implies that almost 5,800 people will die every year as a result of being left uninsured. That’s only an estimate. It may overestimate—or underestimate—the true human consequences. In my view, there’s no escaping the fact that partisan opposition to the ACA is costing thousands of actual human lives every year. [My italics-MS]
This is nothing short of criminal.