23 million

23 million people with no health insurance: Here’s what that looks like

Republicans in the US Senate are going ahead with “debate” [July 25, 2017] on repealing [and possibly replacing] the Affordable Care Act—a decision that could take health insurance away from 23 million people. Do they think of those 23 million as actual people in real towns—as their mothers, their fathers, their sisters and brothers,  their children, their grandchildren, their aunts and uncles? Or are they just abstract numbers in a political game? Do they realize—or even care about—the impact of what they are hoping to do?

How do we make this real for these folks? Maybe if we put it in political terms—votes—they’ll understand. So, let’s look at 23 million [or as many as 32 million, according to the Congressional Budget Office, depending on what model is being analyzed].

23 million is the rough equivalent of taking away health insurance from everyone who lives in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego, Dallas, San Jose, San Francisco and Austin. That is absolutely apocalyptic.

Oh, wait. Republicans don’t care about people in big cities, because they don’t vote Republican. So, after contemplating the chilling reality of those numbers, disregard them.

Instead, let’s look at the equivalent of 23 million using smaller cities and towns, mostly in “red states,” where Republicans might give a shit, because that’s where the base is.

In this scenario, 23 million is the rough equivalent of taking health insurance away from everyone who lives in the following 100 cities, plus the entire population of Oregon.  [Population figures are rounded to the nearest thousand. And I’ve not included the “coastal” states that Republican leadership loathes. If you feel compelled to check my math, go right ahead. It’s within range. After 100 cities, I decided to stop charting and just add the Oregon shortcut: All you have to do is include Oregon’s 3.9 million people to make it add up to about 23 million. That should make Republicans happy.]

When you picture it this way, it is even more scary. Just a thought experiment to make you feel even worse about what is about to happen in Washington.