Health care and hyperbole revisited
11. Overall, for every ~300 to 800 adults who get coverage, rigorous studies suggest we save one life per year.— Atul Gawande (@Atul_Gawande) June 21, 2017
Can't we all just get along (by not criticizing Trump)?
I previously wrote about Monday's News-Register editorial, "Think About How Words Are Heard," four posts down. I pointed to what appeared to be the locals' new defense of the Trump administration: Trump's critics engage in exaggeration and we all need to be more civil. Among other points, the editorial asserted that critics of the Republican health plan should look in the mirror:
. . . . some members of Congress have provided plenty of fuel for the fire. For example, insisting that a health care reform plan will kill millions of people certainly is not accurate, but there are those eager to believe it.
After yesterday's undocumented Intelligencer hyperbole (i.e. lie), I decided that it was time to revisit this to see if I could find the members of congress who had said "millions." After an hour of research, I did not find any guilty parties. The closest I got was Bernie Sanders saying that the plan would kill thousands. (The editorial does say that they didn't want to be hypocritical (whatever that means in this context) and release the names. Given the locals' record of making up evidence, I think that's an excuse for not having any examples.)
But will the loss of health care trigger more deaths?
In the course of my research I did find, however, an article about a study just published in The New England Journal of Medicine. Vox summarized and explained how Dr. Atul Gawande began his study:
[Gawande] wanted to comb through the research himself to see what studies on the health effects of health insurance show. Together with researchers Benjamin Sommers and Katherine Baicker — who are two of the leading experts on this subject — Gawande just put out a review of that literature. Their analysis was published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, on the eve of the long-awaited release of the Senate health reform bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act.
The article explains:
“The bottom line,” Gawande told Vox, “is that if you’re passing a bill that cuts $1.2 trillion in taxes that have paid for health care coverage, there’s almost no way that does not end up terminating insurance for large numbers of people.”
He continued: “If you are doing that, then there’s clear evidence that you will be harming people. You will be hurting their access to care. You will be harming their health — their physical health and mental health. There will be deaths.
“As a doctor, I find this unconscionable.”
For every 300 to 800 people who get insurance, about one life is saved per year, they found. The cost to society is somewhere between $300,000 and $800,000 per life saved.
I'm not sure what the total would be overall but it certainly means that the Republican health care plan will cost thousands of lives. (I'm sure the News-Register considers this "hyperbole.")