Jim’s Take

Health Care Reform to “Kill Millions?”

Critics of the GOP plan to revise the ACA (Obamacare) have said that by making the change – which essentially returns us to the status quo ante before Obamacare will result in millions dying.

That got me curious. It implies without actually stating it that Obamacare has lowered the mortality rate in the US. Getting rid of Obamacare will result in returning to that earlier time and thus cause deaths.

So I had one of my associates check into the US age-adjusted mortality rates in effect since 2000. The numbers only went through 2015. And they vary pretty dramatically by year, so I “smoothed” the results by calculating the three-year rolling average of mortality. So the numbers run from 2003 to 2015.


The first number shown is 2003 because I showed the drop in mortality from 2002 (comprised of 2000, 2001 and 2002) to 2003 (comprised of 2001, 2002 and 2003). I repeated it by year.

If you take a peek at the chart here, you’ll see that mortality rates have been dropping for all but one of the 16 years in that period. But what is interesting is what happened after Obamacare was passed – the drop in mortality rates slowed down significantly. In fact, in the most recent year the death rate went up slightly.

Hmmm. So you mean that the reality is the exact opposite of what Obamacare repeal opponents said. That less improvement occurred DURING Obamacare than it did BEFORE Obamacare?

Yeah, that’s what I mean.

Unlike the demagogues who are really more interested in central government control than they are in curing people’s illnesses, I will be honest enough that I’m not really proposing that Obamacare made people LESS healthy. It may just be coincidence. It could be coincidence. It doesn’t LOOK like coincidence, but hey, who am I??

What I AM doing is saying that the oft-said, endlessly media-repeated canard that opponents of Obamacare want poor people to die is a propagandistic assertion that has ZERO basis in reality. It’s a scare tactic designed to keep Americans from actually thinking and evaluating alternative approaches.

The level of partisanship in America today is truly saddening to me. This is just my tiny individual effort to penetrate the fog of half-truths and lies.

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