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Facebook / Bernie Sanders

The issue:

One of the Democrats' most incendiary claims about the House-passed health care bill is that "people will die" if it becomes law. Sometimes they get more specific — Sen. Bernie Sanders said last week that "thousands of Americans will die."

The facts:
  • It's hard to deny that someone, somewhere, might die sooner if they don't get health care. It's a lot harder to put a number on it.
  • There are studies that flip the question around, and show that fewer people die in states that have expanded health coverage. This newly updated study by Harvard's Benjamin Sommers found that deaths declined in New York, Arizona and Maine when those states expanded Medicaid in the early 2000s.
  • An aide to Sanders said he got his numbers from two co-founders of Physicians for a National Health Program, a pro-single payer group, who estimated that a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act would kill 43,000 people a year, based on the Medicaid research.
  • The issue is whether "saved lives" can really be converted into "deaths" if coverage is lost.
  • Stanford's Lanhee Chen, a member of the Axios board of experts, noted that "you could credibly argue by the same logic that 'people will die'" if the ACA continues unchanged and people lose coverage because insurers keep dropping out.
  • But Sommers said that while he "wouldn't put too much confidence in any one number ... it is reasonable to conclude that many Americans who lose coverage will forego needed care and could die because of it."
Why it matters:

This is an easy issue to demagogue, and if that happens, people will tune it out. The safest conclusion is to stay away from numbers and stick to the big picture: If people lose health coverage and can't get health care, they're at greater risk of an earlier death.

Go deeper

Updated 56 mins ago - World

2 Americans accused of helping Ghosn escape in Japanese custody

Former Nissan chair Carlos Ghosn during a news conference in Jounieh, Lebanon, last September. Photo: Hasan Shaaban/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Two Americans accused of helping former Nissan chair Carlos Ghosn flee Japan in a box in 2019 were taken into Japanese custody after arriving at an airport near Tokyo Tuesday, per the Wall Street Journal.

Why it matters: The extradition of Michael Taylor, 60, a private security specialist and former Green Beret, and his son Peter Maxwell Taylor, 27, ends a months-long fight to remain in the U.S.

Rep. Rice demands Cuomo resign after 3rd woman accuses him of misconduct

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo during a February news conference in New York City. Photo: Seth Wenig/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.) on Monday evening called for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to resign, after a third woman accused him of inappropriate behavior.

Driving the news: Anna Ruch, a former member of the Obama administration and the 2020 Biden campaign, told the New York Times Monday that Cuomo asked to kiss her at a New York City wedding reception in September 2019.

Scoop: Inside the GOP's plan to retake the House

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

House Republicans will reclaim their majority in 2022 by offering candidates who are women, minorities or veterans, a memo obtained by Axios says.

Why it matters: The document, drafted by a super PAC blessed by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, names top Democrats to target — Jared Golden of Maine, Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania and Ron Kind of Wisconsin — and the type of Republican candidates to beat them.

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