Harry Reid kills 180 thousand people

If Harry Reid is right in saying that 45 thousand people die each year due to lack of health insurance, then why does his plan wait until 2014 to do anything? A four-year delay will kill 180 thousand people, right?

ASIDE: Okay, that’s not fair. The Reid bill doesn’t get to universal coverage; according to the CBO it would only cut the number of uninsured in half. So the delay is only killing 90 thousand people.

The answer, of course, is budget gimmickry. In order to make the 10-year budget forecast come out in the black, the bills needs to balance 10 years of taxes against just 6 years of spending. The left even admits this.

POSTSCRIPT: Reid alludes to a study just published in the American Journal of Public Health. It’s on-line here. The article is behind a pay wall unfortunately. A press release summarizes the article here. Since the uninsured can get treatment at nearly any hospital emergency room, I’m dubious about the result. I strongly suspect that uninsured status is serving as a proxy for something else, but not having read the study, I can’t hazard a guess what that might be.

POST-POSTSCRIPT: But let’s put this in perspective. The Reid bill subsidizes abortion. (Thank you, Ben Nelson!) Lower prices mean increased consumption, but by how much? It’s hard to know exactly what effective price cut will result from the subsidy; let’s say 2.5%. (That seems low, but it makes the numbers come out neatly.) The price elasticity for abortion is about -0.81, so that means a 2% increase in abortions, which works out to about¬†24 thousand more abortions per year. That’s about the same as the number of people Reid claims his bill would save.


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