During a town hall held on Friday night, Idaho Republican Rep. Raul Labrador made a statement that had the whole crowd in an instantaneous uproar. While responding to an audience member who expressed concern over how the American Health Care Act would affect Medicaid recipients, Labrador made a shocking, and factually flawed, statement. “No one wants anybody to die,” Labrador said. “You know, that line is so indefensible. Nobody dies because they don't have access to healthcare.”
Instant and audible outrage swept over the crowd. Twitter is teeming with responses that run the gambit from the digital version of nervous laughter to shock to anger. The Idaho Representative’s statement is not the first time he has made an outrage-inducing comment about health care. Just last month he received a similar reaction to saying that he did not believe that healthcare was a “basic human right.”
The controversial bill has been making headline after headline as it was passed through the House and is now onto the Senate. It has been called out for being hypocritical for containing a clause that would allow Congress members and their staff to exempt their insurance from the changes. The inclusion of the MacArthur amendment weakens the regulations around pre-existing conditions. The list of pre-existing conditions that would run the risk of being denied coverage is substantial, to say the least. One of the most shocking to make the list was being a survivor of sexual assault. Many have pointed out that the list of pre-existing conditions is unfairly stacked against women. Criticism over the lack of diversity among those who worked on the bill has been brought up as well. Not a single woman is involved.
Labrador’s statement that “nobody dies because they don’t have access to healthcare” is emphatically false. In fact, a study published in 2009 by the American Journal of Public Health said that 45,000 people die from lack of health insurance every year.
Watch video of the controversial moment below.