As if the debate over the new GOP health care bill isn’t contentious enough right now, an Idaho congressman’s remark over the weekend is adding fuel to the fire. During a town hall meeting, Republican Raul Labrador said, “Nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care.” The remark was caught on video which you can watch by clicking here or on the picture below.
In response to the remark, Forbes Magazine wrote:
A study published in the American Journal of Public Health (and conducted by Andrew P. Wilper, MD, MPH, Steffie Woolhandler, MD, MPH, Karen E. Lasser, MD, MPH, Danny McCormick, MD, MPH, David H. Bor, MD, and David U. Himmelstein, MD, all at Harvard Medical School at the time) calculated that each year nearly 45,000 deaths are linked to lack of health insurance. This number came from their analysis of under 65 year old adults in the U.S. who participated in the annual National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) from 1986 to 1994. The researchers determined that being uninsured resulted in a 40 percent increase in risk of death.
Congressman Labrador posted a message on his Facebook page after the town hall where he admitted the statement “wasn’t very elegant.” He also claimed the media took the short video clip out of context saying he was “trying to explain that all hospitals are required by law to treat patients in need of emergency care regardless of their ability to pay and that the Republican plan does not change that.”
The Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA) has long maintained that making hospital emergency rooms the “point of contact” for people’s health care is not in the patient’s best interest. It also costs hospitals hundreds of millions of dollars in uncompensated care which could force some facilities to cut services or even close down entirely.
Of course, this legislation still has a long way to go as it now moves to the Senate where it is expected to meet with some resistance. Bloomberg.com wrote, “Republican senators plan to write a health-care bill that could be radically different from the one passed last week by the House, including keeping some of the benefits and safeguards currently enshrined within Obamacare. The Senate’s different approach means there’s no clear timetable for producing a bill, and it likely ensures that President Donald Trump and House Republicans will eventually have to face legislation that doesn’t fully repeal the Affordable Care Act despite their repeated campaign promises to do it.”
Share your thoughts on the congressman’s remarks and what you believe our Senators should do to make sure this bill works for the people of Arizona. Finding the best way to support the people, patients, and communities of our state will help us take another step toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!