Former Bill Clinton Treasury Secretary Larry Summers argued in an op-ed for the Financial Times on Monday that thousands will die because the Republican Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will repeal Obamacare’s individual mandate.
The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the tax bill could reduce insurance coverage by 13m people, which to be conservative we can round down to 10m people. Recognising all the uncertainties — for example, the fact that the group becoming uninsured as a result of the individual mandate repeal is likely to be healthier than the group Sommers et al (2014) study in Massachusetts — if we treat the 176-830 range as implying that it is safe to assume that 1,000 more uninsured means one death, the conclusion would follow that the tax bill will result in 10,000 extra deaths per year.
The former Treasury Secretary argued that, by repealing Obamacare’s individual mandate, millions of Americans will become uninsured, which will subsequently lead to higher mortality rates in America.
Oren Cass, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, not only dispelled the myth that Obamacare saves lives, Cass contends that public health trends have increasingly declined under Obamacare.
The best statistical estimate for the number of lives saved each year by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is zero. Certainly, there are individuals who have benefited from various of its provisions. But attempts to claim broader effects on public health or thousands of lives saved rely upon extrapolation from past studies that focus on the value of private health insurance. The ACA, however, has expanded coverage through Medicaid, a public program that, according to several studies, has failed to improve health outcomes for recipients. In fact, public health trends since the implementation of the ACA have worsened, with 80,000 more deaths in 2015 than had mortality continued declining during 2014–15 at the rate achieved during 2000–2013.
Outside of the argument over whether Obamacare harms Americans’ overall health, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) found that 80 percent of Americans who pay the Obamacare individual mandate make less than $50,000.
The Senate-passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act repeals Obamacare’s individual mandate. Republicans hope to pass their tax legislation before Christmas.
President Donald Trump said that passing the tax reform bill would ensure a “Merry Christmas” for the country.
Trump declared that the tax reform bill “can be the beginning of the next great chapter for the American worker.”