Looks like Donald Trump is planning a really yuuuge inauguration victory lap at his January 20th inauguration. Helicopter landings, maybe a 5th ave. parade. The usual unreal reality TV shtick. Lots of noise, spectacle and fake sentiment, all presided over, I presume, by a smirking Donald Trump, showing all the glad-handing aplomb of the stereotypical used car salesman.
For many of us, though, it will be a day of mourning. As in flags at half-mast and black arm bands. We’ll be mourning the coming death of our country as the Great Kleptocrat sells it off and debases the principles we grew up believing to be immutable. On a smaller, more immediate level, it will also usher in the era of the funeral march as people who lose Obamacare die unnecessarily.
Trump has promised to undo Obamacare on day one, and the GOP congress would like nothing better – although they are currently a little confused about how to go about doing it it without taking the blame when it’s all gone. If they succeed, lots of people will lose their newly acquired access to good health care – and, no, emergency rooms are no substitute. As a result, many people who could be treated will die. Think Progress reports on the Urban Institute’s estimate of the preventable deaths that will result if Trump and his Republican congressional tag team perform as promised:
In fairness, 36,000 is a high estimate of the number of deaths that will result if Obamacare is repealed, as there is some uncertainty about how congressional Republicans will repeal the law. Even in the best case scenario, however, a wholesale repeal of Obamacare may cause about 27,000 people to die every year who otherwise would have lived.
How do those numbers impact Missouri? The estimate is based on a metric that indicates that for each 830 people who lose their insurance, one per year will die as a result. If Obamacare is repealed in toto, 217,000 Missourians will lose the insurance they have purchased through the healthcare.gov exchanges, and an additional 5,000 young adults who are now on their parents plan could lose their coverage. That’s 220,000 individuals in Missouri who stand to lose their insurance coverage. Many, probably most, of these people will be unable to afford insurance without the subsidies that Obamacare offers. Consequently, the number of preventable deaths in Missouri owing to the Obamacare repeal could conceivably range from a high of 265 a year, if all those who lose coverage remain without insurance, to 132 a year if at least half are able to purchase insurance in the individual marketplace on their own – where, without the oversight mandated by Obamacare, premiums will likely skyrocket.
By my lights this makes Trump and his bully boys murderers. There’s no real reason to repeal Obamacare. It works. With a few adjustments, it would work even better. The repeal fervor has never amounted to anything more than spite and partisanship harnessed to drive a successful propaganda war among the ill-informed GOP base – with, perhaps, a hat-tip to the kill-all-social-spending mantra of folks like the Kochs who bankroll the GOP. Recent polling indicates that even Republicans are wavering in their zeal to undo Obamacare. To deprive citizens of healthcare and, potentially, even life on the basis of mean-minded stupidity is reprehensible and deserves to be called what it is: murder.
Of course, this is nothing new, using the same metric, the Missouri Republican party is responsible for the deaths of about 353 Missourians for every year that they have refused to expand Medicaid under Obamacare. A group of ideologues and dim-wits denied health care access to roughly 293,000 individuals. Of that quarter million plus Missourians, hundreds died and continue to die as a result.
Anyone who voted Republican in the last election will share the guilt, not that they’ll likely care. They’ve finally got the president they want – as well as the president they deserve. Unfortunately, those of us who deserve much better are stuck with the really yuuge and ugly reality show that stretches ahead.