Does Obamacare Save Lives? Nope.

The horrid Trumpcare bill was narrowly passed by the House of Representatives on Thursday and is on its way to the Senate. The current state of the bill thankfully does have some aspects that are better than the previous monstrosity of a law. However, it is still a garbage bill. It brings back core components of Obamacare in ways that exacerbate the financial death spiral, such as the proposed solution for dealing with pre-existing conditions. Additionally, the current form of Trumpcare is poised to discourage many people from purchasing health care, on account of extra $8 billion in subsidies designated for high-risk pools. Essentially, this amendment to the bill incentivizes Americans to wait until they’re unhealthy to get insurance. That’s just bad economics, and it most certainly isn’t insurance. The bill is also prone to be skewing to the left in policy as it goes through the Senate.

There are many fair arguments against Trumpcare, many of which I agree with. I would not vote for this bill because to put it simply, it’s bad. However, many folks on the Left are mad at it for another reason: they see it as an attack on Obama’s legacy. Certain parts of it sure are, such as repealing many of Obamacare’s taxes, but many parts allow the bill to be perceived as ‘Obamacare Lite.’ Leftists like to spew a line that can be directly labeled a falsehood: “Obamacare saves SO many lives!” Some folks on the Left, such as Bernie Sanders, claim that the Affordable Care Act has saved tens of thousands of American lives:

Meanwhile, others have been indoctrinated with the false premise that Obama’s health care law saves millions of lives (yes, they’re serious; and wrong.):

So, let’s take Miss Weiss up on her advice and “look into it.”

According to a study by The Manhattan Institute, “The best statistical estimate for the number of lives saved each year by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is zero.” That’s because Obamacare was not a successful law. It primarily expanded Medicaid, a government program that doesn’t exactly have the best effect on patient’s mortality, statistically speaking. The study continues, “In fact, public health trends since the implementation of the ACA have worsened, with 80,000 more deaths in 2015 than had mortality continued declining during 2014–15 at the rate achieved during 2000–2013.” For the 26 states that expanded Medicaid during 2014, mortality the subsequent year rose approximately 50% faster than in states that did not. There certainly are some individuals have benefitted from the expansion, but, as said previously, private insurers do a much better job in terms of having a positive effect on mortality than Medicaid.

For what changes did occur in the private sector, one must look not to the expansion by the government as the catalyst, but rather the economic recovery America was experiencing at the time. During the recession starting December 2007, after three years employment fell 5.5% which lead to a private insurance coverage loss of 7.0%. Then, during the recovery from 2010-15, the total employment rate rose by 8.8% and the private insurance coverage rate increased by 9.5%.

Greg Matusow

Author: Greg Matusow

Greg Matusow is a conservative writer and founder of