Paul Ryan Thinks It’s ‘Hysterical’ to Point Out That Trumpcare Will Kill People

Aaron Rupar

Aaron Rupar Journalist, ThinkProgress

During an interview with a Wisconsin radio station on Thursday, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) accused Trumpcare opponents of using “over the top” and “hysterical” rhetoric when they point out the well-understood connection between people losing health insurance and people dying.

“The rhetoric is just over the top,” Ryan said. “I have seen a lot in my day and this rhetoric — it’s hysterical, it’s hyperbolic, it’s really something.”

Ryan went on to suggest that in the wake of Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) being shot and seriously wounded at Republican congressional baseball team practice on June 14, Trumpcare opponents need to tone it down.

“We almost lost Steve that day. It was really close for about 48 hours there and he’s a really close friend of mine,” Ryan said. “Let’s all fight with respect and civility for the beliefs and causes we believe in, but let’s be civil with one another… and accusing people who are trying to solve a health care problem of trying to kill people is not having a civil debate.”

Ryan may not want to talk about it, but the fact remain that Trumpcare will kill people. Both the House and Senate versions of the bill would result in somewhere between 22 and 23 million Americans losing their health insurance over the next decade, compared to Obamacare. The majority of those coverage losses occur because of Trumpcare’s deep cuts to Medicaid.

A study looking at states that enacted Medicaid expansions in the early 2000s relative to neighboring ones found a correlation between coverage gains and lower mortality rates, particularly with respect to treatable conditions like heart disease, infections, and cancer. Another study of “Medicaid’s mortality effects” found “one life saved for every 239 to 316 adults who gained coverage.”

Ryan is willing to politicize Scalise’s shooting in service of a tax cut for the wealthy masquerading as health care reform, but he doesn’t acknowledge the role having health insurance has played and continues to play in Scalise’s recovery. As Brian Beutler of the New Republic wrote last week, the fact Scalise has coverage means he “will likely be spared the second-most horrifying consequence of his injuries: the financial cost.”

“Through no fault of his own, Scalise has just incurred hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars in medical expenses,” Beutler writes. “And while he may ultimately be responsible for a tiny, tiny, tiny fraction of these costs, he and his Republican colleagues in Congress are, as he convalesces, attempting to expose millions of Americans to the kind of financial ruin he has so far avoided.”

Ryan doesn’t view it that way. During a Fox & Friends interview Tuesday morning, he portrayed health care coverage as an oppressive burden that low-income Americans would freely discard.

With regard to the Congressional Budget Office’s evaluation that the Senate Trumpcare bill would cost at least 22 million Americans their coverage, Ryan said, “what they’re basically saying at the CBO is if you’re not going to force people to buy Obamacare, if you’re not going to force people to buy something that they don’t want, they won’t buy it.”

“So it’s not that people are getting pushed off a plan,” he continued. “It’s that people will choose not to buy something they don’t like or want.”

Ryan is from from the only person ignorant or in denial about the connection between having coverage and lower mortality rates.

Perhaps the most egregious example came Tuesday evening on Fox News. During a discussion about Senate Republicans’ decision to temporarily pull the plug on Trumpcare, host Lisa Kennedy Montgomery criticized progressive “hysteria” about the bill, which would cost 22 million Americans their health care, since “we’re all going to die” anyway.

“You know what, at least they are not employing any hyperbole at all. No exaggeration, no hysteria,” she said. “You know what the crazy thing is? We’re all going to die. And they can’t predict — there’s no way unless they are absolutely psychic and have a party line to heaven, they don’t know who’s going to die or when or how many people.”

Ryan’s call for civility comes amid controversy about a National Rifle Association recruitment video that stops just short of calling for violence against anti-Trump progressives.

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Reposted from ThinkProgress.

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Image by DonkeyHotey/Flickr.

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

The Big Drip

From the USW

From tumbledown bridges to decrepit roads and failing water systems, crumbling infrastructure undermines America’s safety and prosperity. In coming weeks, Union Matters will delve into this neglect and the urgent need for a rebuilding campaign that creates jobs, fuels economic growth and revitalizes communities. 

A rash of water main breaks in West Berkeley, Calif., and neighboring cities last month flooded streets and left at least 300 residents without water. Routine pressure adjustments in response to water demand likely caused more than a dozen pipes, some made of clay and more than 100 years old, to rupture.

West Berkeley’s brittle mains are not unique. Decades of neglect left aging pipes susceptible to breaks in communities across the U.S., wasting two trillion gallons of treated water each year as these systems near collapse.

Comprehensive upgrades to the nation’s crumbling water systems would stanch the flow and ensure all Americans have reliable access to clean water.

Nationwide, water main breaks increased 27 percent between 2012 and 2018, according to a Utah State University study.  

These breaks not only lead to service disruptions  but also flood out roads, topple trees and cause illness when drinking water becomes contaminated with bacteria.

The American Water Works Association estimated it will cost at least $1 trillion over the next 25 years to upgrade and expand water infrastructure.

Some local water utilities raised their rates to pay for system improvements, but that just hurts poor consumers who can’t pay the higher bills.

And while Congress allocates money for loans that utilities can use to fix portions of their deteriorating systems, that’s merely a drop in the bucket—a fraction of what agencies need for lasting improvements.

America can no longer afford a piecemeal approach to a systemic nationwide crisis. A major, sustained federal commitment to fixing aging pipes and treatment plants would create millions of construction-related jobs while ensuring all Americans have safe, affordable drinking water.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work