Conservative groups advising Americans not to sign up for the Obamacare exchanges “are guilty of murder,” according to Maine independent Sen. Angus King.
King, who caucuses with the Democrats, told Salon in an interview published Monday that efforts to dissuade young people from signing up is a “scandal,” and a deadly one.
“That’s a scandal — those people are guilty of murder in my opinion,” King said in a Friday interview with Salon’s Brian Beutler. “Some of those people they persuade are going to end up dying because they don’t have health insurance.”
“For people who do that to other people in the name of some obscure political ideology is one of the grossest violations of our humanity I can think of. This absolutely drives me crazy.”
King explained to Salon that his health insurance policy, at age 29, allowed him to have a checkup for the first time in a decade. During the checkup the doctor discovered a mole, and a week later informed him that had melanoma. King says he “would have died” without the ensuing surgery.
“The bottom line for me is 15, 20, 25,000 people a year die in this country because they don’t have health insurance,” King told Salon. (RELATED: Senator calls out ‘teabaggers in the tea party’ from the Senate floor)
Salon reports that King further compared the expensive response to 9/11, which killed 3,000 people, to the need to provide more health-care resources to those who will die without coverage.
“Enabling more people to get coverage is not just common sense, it’s humane,” King said. “To me it boils down to a moral question, and that is would you allow someone sitting in front of you on the subway to die, or would you take some action — call 911 or a doctor or do CPR yourself. Most people would say no I would not allow someone to die. You have to realize that as a society we’re answering ‘yes’ to 25,000 a year who are dying before our eyes and saying we don’t care.”
Generation Opportunity president Evan Feinberg, whose group has been running advertisements to encourage young Americans to “opt out” of Obamacare, told The Daily Caller that King should be “embarrassed” by his comments.
“Senator King should be embarrassed by his comments equating our recent efforts to educate young people on their healthcare options to … murder,” Feinberg said in an email. “Good thing Senator King is an ‘Independent,’ otherwise Democratic leadership would have to repudiate these asinine comments.”
* This story has been updated with Generation Opportunity’s reaction.