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

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

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