After the CBO score on the Better Care Reconciliation Act estimated that the new plan could strip 22 million Americans of health insurance, Democrats took to the airwaves to discuss the threat it would pose to people's lives. But on a Tuesday evening segment discussing the health care bill, Fox News host Lisa Kennedy Montgomery pushed back on the Democrats for engaging in "hysteria" over the bill, asking her co-hosts, "You know what the crazy thing is? We're all going to die."
The comment came on a segment on The Fox News Specialists, which focused on what they were billing as the Democrats' "outrageous rhetoric on [the] health care bill." They played clips of Sens. Bernie Sanders and Al Franken and Rep. Nancy Pelosi giving various estimates of the numbers of people who would die as a direct result of losing their health care and then discussed it, generally agreeing that it was a hysterical response. Montgomery eventually chimed in with her comment on the inevitability of death. “You know what," she said, "At least they are not employing any hyperbole at all." She continued:
No exaggeration, no hysteria. You know what the crazy thing is? We’re all going to die. And they can’t predict — there’s no way unless they are absolutely psychic and have a party line to heaven, they don’t know who’s going to die or when or how many people.
But critics have pointed out that Montgomery's comment skirts past the issue of health care itself — namely the people whose lives could be saved by affordable access to care.
Over the past few years, research has in fact shown that increased health coverage leads to fewer deaths from "‘health-care-amenable’ conditions such as heart disease, infections, and cancer." And when an estimated 22 million Americans would lose health insurance if the current version of the Senate health care bill were to pass, that translates to a lot of preventable deaths.
Montgomery is certainly not alone in calling that sort of talk hysterical. Other Republicans have criticized discussions about the health care bill that touch on the subject of death. For many Americans, however — including those among the CBO's 22 million estimate that could lose health coverage under the BCRA — the bill would indeed be a life-or-death issue. While the research disagrees on how many more people have to be insured on average in order to save one life, it is more conclusive in its assertion that insuring more people saves more people, according to a report in The New England Journal of Medicine.