How Many Will Die If Supreme Court Guts Obamacare?

Brian Beutler: “In a brief to the Supreme Court, dozens of public health scholars, along with the American Public Health Association, detail the harm the Court would create by ruling for the challengers in King vs. Burwell. Most of their analysis is rooted in the basic point that stripping insurance away from eight million people would dramatically impede their access to the health system. But they also flesh out the corollary argument that an adverse ruling would have deadly consequences, and ballpark the number of avoidable deaths such a ruling would cause.”

“’Researchers found that, in the first four years of the [health care reform] law in Massachusetts, for every 830 adults gaining insurance coverage there was one fewer death per year,’ the brief reads. ‘Using the national estimate that 8.2 million people can be expected to lose health insurance in the absence of subsidies on the federal marketplace, this ratio equates to over 9,800 additional Americans dying each year.'”

“The Massachusetts story wouldn’t unfold precisely in reverse everywhere the subsidies disappeared, but the experience there suggests the Supreme Court ruling would have measurable mortality implications. These costs (read: deaths) couldn’t be paired against the benefits of increased spending on anti-poverty programs. These are the costs conservatives are eager to inflict on others simply to gain the leverage they need to advance an alternative that the status quo forecloses.”

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