US Rep: 'Nobody Dies' Because They Don't Have Health Care

Raul Labrador booed roundly after town hall comments
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted May 7, 2017 9:57 AM CDT

On Friday, the day after House Republicans passed the reworked American Health Care Act, Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador faced an angry woman at a town hall who accused him of "mandating people on Medicaid accept dying," reports the Idaho Statesman. "That line is so indefensible," responded the House Freedom Caucus member. "Nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care." The immediate reaction was brutal, as the Washington Post puts it, "The boos instantly drowned him out." Responded the woman, who later told the Statesman she was an ER nurse: "It absolutely kills people. You don’t know what you’re talking about. You should sit in ER waiting rooms and explain to people that their children are going to die because they can’t afford insurance."

Labrador sought to calm the furor on Saturday, writing that, "In the five-second clip that the media is focusing on, I was trying to explain that all hospitals are required by law to treat patients in need to emergency care regardless of their ability to pay and that the Republican plan does not change that." But video of the exchange continued to reverberate, landing on Reddit's "Not the Onion" thread, and attracting outrage on social media—one breast cancer patient wrote that "You are literally trying to kill me because it costs too much money to take care of me." Doctors weighed in, recounting specific examples of patients who died because they put off health care they couldn't afford until it was too late. At CNN, Chris Cillizza gives Labrador his "worst week in Washington" rating, writing that, "If you didn't hear that line before now, never fear: You'll be hearing it A LOT more in Democratic campaign ads." (More Raul Labrador stories.)

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