[Ed. – Oh, the humanity!]
It should go without saying, but health care is not a luxury good. According to a Harvard study, in 2005, before Obamacare became law, close to 45,000 Americans between the age of 18 and 64 died because they lacked health insurance. Diabetics lost their sight and slowly watched their organs fail because they were unable to afford insulin. Mothers delayed care for curable infections until the wait proved fatal. Wives rationed the medication they needed to get out of bed in the morning in order to pay for their husband’s care. Doctors would base treatment decisions for their uninsured patients on which drug company had most recently provided them with free samples of their product.
A lawsuit called King v. Burwell would take health insurance away from millions of Americans, returning them to the world that existed before Obamacare. The case relies on a few words of the law that, if read out of context, seem to deny tax credits intended to help people pay for their health insurance to people who live in the wrong states. Once those words are read in the context of the entire law, however, it becomes clear that tax credits are available in all 50 states.
A brief filed on behalf of multiple public health scholars and the American Public Health Association, estimates that “over 9,800 additional Americans” will die if the justices side with the King plaintiffs. It reaches this conclusion by starting with an Urban Institute study showing that 8.2 million people will become uninsured in this scenario. As other research examining Obamacare-like reforms in the state of Massachusetts found that “for every 830 adults gaining insurance coverage there was one fewer death per year,” that translates to between 9,800 and 9,900 deaths if the justices back the plaintiffs inKing.