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The Moops-Invaded-Spain Argument Is Farcical, But Not Funny

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How many people would die were a bare majority of the Supreme Court to accept the risible argument that the ACA did not make tax credits available on federally established exchanges? The answer is a grim one:

In a brief to the Supreme Court, dozens of public health scholars, along with the American Public Health Association, detail the harm the Court would create by ruling for the challengers in King vs. Burwell. Most of their analysis is rooted in the basic point that stripping insurance away from eight million people would dramatically impede their access to the health system. But they also flesh out the corollary argument that an adverse ruling would have deadly consequences, and ballpark the number of avoidable deaths such a ruling would cause.

“Researchers found that, in the first four years of the [health care reform] law in Massachusetts, for every 830 adults gaining insurance coverage there was one fewer death per year,” the brief reads. “Using the national estimate that 8.2 million people can be expected to lose health insurance in the absence of subsidies on the federal marketplace, this ratio equates to over 9,800 additional Americans dying each year. Although the specific policy context and population impacts of any policy cannot be directly extrapolated from one setting to another, the general magnitude and power of these findings from the Massachusetts study demonstrate that even when approached cautiously, these earlier findings carry enormous public health implications for withdrawing subsidies and coverage from millions of Americans.”

The Moops-invaded-Spain argument might be a joke, but the consequences of the Supreme Court buying it would be anything but.

I also see that Michael Strain has a reply to his critics. It seems to consist of inhabiting the moderate Republican equivalent of the lefty alternate reality where Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman were ready to nationalize the American health insurance industry had Barack Obama only been willing to ask them in the right way:

Responding to critics in a followup article, Strain brushes this all aside by stipulating that Republicans would never allow all this suffering. “I think it’s very likely that the congressional GOP would enact some sort of replacement if the Supreme Court strikes down Obamacare,” he writes. “They would very likely take measures to address the needs of those who lost their subsidies as a result of the Court’s action.”

To back up his suspicions, he cites a suspiciously limited set of news reports, quoting Republicans who claim to be working on such a plan—or, at least “talking about how to build consensus on a replacement.”

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Sorry, my mistake — it’s the precise equivalent of lefties who think that Lincoln Chafee was a fair representative of Republican health care policy thinking, and Bob Dole and Newt Gingrich were totally serious about advancing his ideas.

It’s just amazing that anyone could write that with a straight face. We’ve repeatedly seen that the Republican offer to the uninsured is “nothing.” We have seen one Republican statehouse after another refuse a very generously funded Medicaid expansion. We have seen a legal argument based on tendentious misreadings and outright lies that would result in 10,000 or so deaths a year be taken seriously by federal judges. But congressional Republicans would never let anyone die because they lack health coverage, heavens no!

I’ll leave the punchline to Brian:

He does not quote from this Wall Street Journal article titled, “Republicans to Block Legislative Fix to Health-Care Law,” or this article by TPM’s Sahil Kapur titled, “Republicans Are At A Loss On What To Do If SCOTUS Nixes Obamacare Subsidies.”

I’ll give Adler and Cannon this: they may be lying to others, but at least they’re not lying to themselves about what they want to accomplish.

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