By: Brad Polumbo – stream.org – December 28, 2017
When the Senate passed their tax reform bill earlier this month, Republicans were excited that the new law would cut taxes. Liberals thought it would kill people. As the legislation went through the Budget Committee, protesters inside the Capitol chanted, “Don’t kill us, kill the bill.” Larry Summers, a top economist in the Obama administration, claimed that 10,000 people a year will die if this bill is signed into law, and many others have made similarly apocalyptic predictions. But regardless of your stance on tax reform, the idea that a moderate reduction in taxes will kill people isn’t just wrong — it’s absurd.
A Tax Bill as ‘Armageddon’
Don’t tell that to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, though, who called the tax cut “Armageddon” and said that this was a debate over “life and death.” Critics like Pelosi point to the provision of the Senate tax bill that repeals the individual mandate, an element of the Affordable Care Act that requires individuals to purchase health insurance or pay a fine. They argue that repealing it will undermine Obamacare and deny people the health care coverage they need to survive.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer tweeted that this would boot 13 million people off of their health insurance and “cause premiums to skyrocket.” His numbers come from the well-respected Congressional Budget Office (CBO) which found that a repeal of the individual mandate would mean that 13 million fewer people have health insurance by 2027 and average premiums would rise by about 10 percent each year over the next decade. So by ripping people’s insurance coverage away and pricing them out of their healthcare, the GOP has blood on their hands, right?
Not really. Many of the 13 million people who “lose” health insurance with a repeal of the mandate, which forces people to buy insurance on the private market, are really just being given a choice. They don’t get kicked off of their insurance, but rather now they’ll be allowed to decide if coverage is worth the cost.
Still, with fewer people insured, even if it’s their decision, won’t more people die? Not according to the National Institutes of Health Study who found that there’s no relationship between mortality risk and whether you are insured or uninsured. There still might be some negative impact on people’s health or ability to receive preventative care, but if that’s what they choose, it’s a far cry from murder.
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