shocking conclusions

Liberal Scientists Claim That Health Insurance Stops Poor People From Dying, Somehow

I don't want to go in the cartYou know the “conventional wisdom” that the “lamestream media” is always trying to feed you: people who go to the doctor when they’re sick tend to live longer than people who just hope that pus-filled abscess on their leg will “go away” if they put a mud poultice on it. And since here in USA America you have to pay money or have insurance to go to a doctor (usually both!), it stands to reason that people who don’t have money and/or insurance tend to die more quickly than people who do. But what if … the opposite were true? What if giving poor people access to insurance causes them literally to die? Wouldn’t the whole Obamacare business basically be the Holocaust, then? The very fact that a bunch of Harvard red diaper babies are trying to claim that Medicaid helps keep poor people alive is solid proof that Medicaid is murder!

So you might remember that when Politburo Chief John Roberts ended American freedom and approved the Health Care Law, he threw conservatives a bone and said that states didn’t have to pay for poor people’s health insurance, via Medicaid, if they didn’t want to. This has made the efficacy of Medicaid a live political issue, not that it hasn’t always been! The New York Times, working hard to “teach the controversy” in its article about how a peer-reviewed study showed that expanding Medicare resulted in fewer poor people dropping dead, informs us that:

Medicaid expansions are controversial, not just because they cost states money, but also because some critics, primarily conservatives, contend the program does not improve the health of recipients and may even be associated with worse health.

We are very curious about the Slate-style “counterintuitive take” articles written by conservatives, about how health insurance is bad for poor people, but will not search them out since they will probably put us into a murderous rage. We’ll just stay optimistic and assume that it speaks well of humanity that people need to hear “No, see, giving free health insurance to poor people will kill them,” because “Enh, giving free health insurance to poor people is too pricey, fuck ‘em” still doesn’t play that well.

Anyway, we are liberal arts majors so we may be misunderstanding the math and numbers, but the Times says that liberal Harvard “estimated that the Medicaid expansions were associated with a decline of 6.1 percent in deaths, or about 2,840 per year for every 500,000 adults added.” And the CBO estimates that, what with all the Freedom states opting out, three million people won’t have insurance who otherwise would have under the law as written. That makes for 17,000 more dead people a year! Enjoy all your dead people, Freedom states. Meanwhile, hold tight for the next round of counterintuitive think pieces on Bizarro World Conservative Slate, with theme being “Obamacare is bad because it doesn’t cover enough people.” [NYT]

About the author

Josh was born and raised in Buffalo, New York, leaving him with a love of chicken wings and a tendency to say “pop”. He taught ancient Greek and Roman history to undergraduates before fleeing from academia in terror; worked for a failed San Francisco dot-com that neglected to supply him with stock options or an Aeron chair; lived in Berlin, where he mostly ate Indian and Ethiopian food; finished in third place on his sole Jeopardy! appearance (the correct answer was “Golda Meir”); and was named 2007 Blogger of the Year by The Week, for obvious reasons. Josh is the creator/editor of COMICS CURMUDGEON (which you should read) and does geeky editing and writing about geeky things such as "the Java programming industry for JavaWorld." He lives in Baltimore with his wife Amber and his cat Hoagie.

View all articles by Josh Fruhlinger
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  1. Beowoof

    Well poor republican voters don't want that. And keep your government hands off my medicare. That cash bought me this fancy hover-round.

      1. va_real

        So is there a plan to help the AR legislature appreciate the value of life? Of people who have already been born, that is….

        1. Callyson

          I'd settle for reducing their pay, thus teaching them the value of money.

          What? I can dream, right?

    1. eggsacklywright

      I think I'll ask my parents for 20 large so I can start up a mortuary bizness. Gonna catch fire!

    2. kittensdontlie

      How true! Given enough time, those poors would screw up their lives for an eternity. The sooner they find their eternal resting place, the better.

  2. SorosBot

    "but also because some critics, primarily conservatives, contend"

    Stop there, Times. There is no way that this sentence can be finished that is not a total lie. You do not have to give space to what "some critics" say when it is objectively untrue.

    1. MissTaken

      "but also because some critics, primarily conservatives, contend"…

      that the Sun circles the Earth and that leeches and bloodletting are acceptable forms of healthcare.

    2. anniegetyerfun

      Meanwhile, OTHERS contend that…

      Modern media: happy to tell you what hacks on both sides of an issue believe, not interested in investigating and reporting the actual truth.

  3. Bezoar

    It may be that giving people health insurance won't harm them, but I know from years of participating in health care delivery that if they actually use it to obtain treatment, some of them will die. Sorry, not really snarky.

    1. PubOption

      True, medicine can only postpone death. I consider that the ACA is a reasonable attempt at making the degree of postponement less dependent on income.

    2. va_real

      Yes, it looks like the docs who actually want to spend enough time with their patients to find out what ails them are also the ones who are no longer accepting insurance for care. Some of those docs might still accept chickens, though?

      1. tessiee

        "Some of those docs might still accept chickens, though?"

        Thereby keeping those chickens out of the clutches of the Chick-Fil-A folks, so it's really a win-win.

      1. Bezoar

        It's best to insure everyone, with universal third-party coverage by a socialist government. But I can tell you that the system we now have is filled with perverse incentives; patients are over-diagnosed, over-tested, over-treated, and, well, mistakes are made.

    1. Bezoar

      When I worked in tissue banking years ago, I attended a mortician's conference where all they could talk about was the catastrophic decrease in the scale and number of funerals the bereaved were commissioning. When I inquired about whether our tissue recovery methods were adversely impacting their mortuary activities, their association president said "Hell, if you give us a head, we can have a funeral" .

  4. SayItWithWookies

    Well everyone has to die of something, right? Do you want people dying from being too healthy and seeing the doctor all the time? Is that it? Huh?

      1. tessiee

        One of my assignments for a Journalism class in college was to write our own obituaries. Mine was "The world's wealthiest woman died today at the age of 237. Her death was attributed to natural causes."

  5. MissTaken

    I went to the doctor last week for evil birth control and now I have a hangnail. Obviously health care is bad for you.

    1. JustPixelz

      Bad because you are — (googles "limbaugh contraception") — a slut and a prostitute.

      1. Biff

        Sounds to me as if he was using one of those wooden salad tong thingies instead. You know, because obamacare is putting him out of bidness.

  6. Katydid

    Meh. They're 17,000 of the wrong kind of people…call me when 17,000 of the .1% are going to die prematurely.

  7. Oblios_Cap

    While the data included all deaths, not just deaths of Medicaid recipients, the decline in mortality was greatest among nonwhites and people living in poorer counties, groups most affected by expanded Medicaid coverage.

    Well, Hell. Why waste scarce resources on those folks? Just let the Invisible Hand of the Awesomest Free Market Ever slap them up to heaven to meet Jeebus sooner.

  8. widestanceromance

    Die free or live, sheapals!11!

    They can have my pre-existing condition/freedoms when they pry them from my cold dead hands!

  9. rickmaci

    Only means there will just be more poors getting all pissy about paying taxes for the 1%. Prince Romoney will take care of all of THAT when he becomes King!!!

  10. ChernobylSoup

    Global circumnavigations are controversial, not just because they cost money, but also because some critics, primarily conservatives, contend the ships will fall off when they reach the edge of the planet.

    1. tessiee

      "Global circumnavigations are controversial"

      Some people think we should just leave the foreskins intact.

  11. Goonemeritus

    This should be fascinating to watch you will have 1/3 of the states going all tuff love on their poor and 2/3 of the states trying to help. This may finally replace kitten death match as my favorite viewing sport.

    1. SorosBot

      Well the poor can just get up and move to one of the non-sociopathic states! Which is very easy to do when you're poor.

      1. ChernobylSoup

        That is the basis of an actual issue in Arkansas right now. The governor (Dem) wants to expand Medicaid. Republican legislators are afraid all the poors from Mississippi, Texas, Oklahoma, and Alabama will move here for the sweet, sweet healthcare.

      2. Goonemeritus

        My wife works in the social service field, they specialize in short term crises help. A typical client may be days away from being evicted or having their lights turned off. Over the last few months she has seen a strange number of clients who have just arrived in state. Logic would say if you are hard against it why would you spend money on moving. I call your attention to the dustbowl, it really does happen.

        1. tessiee

          Really, I don't know why people who live in a shitty state like Mississippi don't just pack a bag and start walking in any direction.

          1. Goonemeritus

            When you live in Mississippi it’s a pretty long walk to get away from shity. Your best bet is to swim to Cuba.

    2. Katydid

      I saw a chart that seemed to say NJ would opt out…I don't know how to find out for certain…if that fuck Christie has state-sponsored health care, and he is a pre-existing condition – why can't everyone else?

    1. DahBoner


      That proves medical intervention doesn't work!


  12. FakaktaSouth

    You know, I find it fascinating how much time people are willing to waste on debating false premise arguments. I am prepared now to say, you know what, you are stupid, I hope you get Obamacare and die, to each and all these fuckers.

    1. FakaktaSouth

      No, here in this case, feeding people is the problem. If you are eating you could choke, and then you will die because of Obamacare.

  13. nounverb911

    “It’s not that I’m afraid to die. I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”
    –Woody Allen

    1. tessiee

      "Some people achieve immortality through their work. I prefer to achieve immortality by not dying."
      — Woody Allen

    2. TribecaMike

      "It is impossible to experience one's death objectively and still carry a tune." — Woody Allen

  14. arduinohacker

    You'd think the Reps would be ALL FOR prolonging the olds, as that's a big part of their reliable voters. Fox, same likewise, isn't like 78% of O'Reillys audience over 80, or os it 80% is over 78? Can't recall, I'm over 50 now.

    1. hagajim

      But the olds are taken care of by the Medicare. It's the poors who get the Medicaid, and the Republicans have made it pretty clear they don't give two shits about the poors.

  15. Baconzgood

    So it took Harvard to prove if you don't go to the doctor it makes you dead. I hope they spent 1.5 Billion to prove that.

  16. Jus_Wonderin

    Conservative really have to tie their logic up in knots, on cosmic scales, to convince themselves their arguments have value. My brain hurtz soooo bads some daze.

  17. JustPixelz

    If the GO-Pee'ers are right and health insurance causes bad health, how can it be legal? OH WAIT … These are the same ass hats who say more guns make us safer. Snow proves global warming isn't happening. Rich people, not customers, are job creators. Reagan was great. Dubya was great. I think I've sussed it out.

    1. SorosBot

      The existing History and Science channels already seem to be there, with their shows on the "history" of the Bible, Ancient Aliens, Nostradamus and ghosts.

    2. Ruhe

      Founding editorial principle of the Fox Science Channel? "Remember everyone, correlation is not causation…unless it is. That is all."

  18. WhatTheHeck

    Dying is so underrated these days. Its the only time in your “life” when people make the least amount of money off your “existence.”

    1. Katydid

      have you seen what a funeral costs these days? $8,000 minimum just to put you in the ground…

      1. hippie13

        The poor are using asymetrical warfare against the state, just like the terrorists…leaving their bodies in the morgue with nobody to pick them up.

    1. Biff

      But dying in the ambulance on the way to the hospital by no means absolves you or your estate from paying them to call TOD, which is very expensive, because they say paramedics are too dumb to know that when your heart stops, you stop breathing and you turn blue, you're DEAD!

  19. LesBontemps

    It's a classic win-win: Only people actually treated by doctors are killed by medical malpractice. If you don't let people go to the doctor, you're saving them from being killed AND lowering the number of malpractice cases!

  20. randcoolcatdaddy

    Your all purpose Madlib for election coverage:

    "[SOMETHING CONSERVATIVES HATE] is/are controversial, not just because it/they cost states money, but also because some critics, primarily conservatives, contend the program does not [DO WHAT IT IS SUPPOSED TO] and may even be associated with [BULLSHIT CONSERVATIVES HAVE NO PROOF OF]."

    1. WhatTheHeck

      Who’s to say you and the rest of us are not dead and Wonkette is the holding room until we get sorted out.

  21. sbj1964

    Only in America can you offer people low cost medical insurance,and they fight you tooth,and nail.Inconceivable.

    1. tessiee

      I had asteroids, and my gentleman friend had polaroids — but that's probably just a coincidence.

  22. RadioBowels

    We paid 3-4 times what any other civilized country would pay for this study, and got the same obvious results.

  23. MissTaken

    Gawd people, if people just stopped going to the doctor then they'd never be diagnosed with cancer or heart disease or syphilis so the rates would go down. Stupid liberals wanting their high levels syphilis!

  24. DerrickWildcat

    Oh, here's some fun Olympic News. NB FUCKING C has decided to show FUCKING COMMERCIALS during it's broadcast of FUCKING SOCCER Games. Before commercial:
    Switzerland 0 Gabon 0. After Commercial: Switzerland 1 Gabon 0.

  25. tessiee

    I call shenanigans. If there was any reason to think that Obamacare killed the poorz, the conservatives would be singing its praises from the rooftops.

  26. Baba_NinjaCat12

    Looks like my death cart company to haul dead poor people has just become a booming business.

    1. hippie13

      Will you be hiring callers? I can do bring out the dead in a number of regional accents.

  27. hippie13

    The poor aren't just gonna kill themselves….despite years of effort by the GOP to make them despondant enough.

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