Former economic adviser to the Obama administration, Larry Summers, claimed 10,000 people will die each year from the GOP’s tax plan on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Monday.
“I think this bill is very dangerous,” he said. “When people lose health insurance they’re less likely to get preventative care. They’re more likely to defer health care they need.”
Summers was referring to the repeal of the Obamacare individual mandate, which was a part of the tax bill passed by the Senate on Saturday. The mandate forces Americans who are not covered by their employers to purchase health insurance. Summers then referenced his Sunday op-ed in the Washington Post, and called his numbers a “conservative estimate.”
“It’s very hard to quantify precisely. My piece explains why an estimate that thousands will die as consequence of this bill is actually a very conservative estimate,” he said. “Done much much more carefully, based on much more rigorous evidence than the absurd claims made by some that this bill will somehow pay for itself.”
Summers’ article relied mostly on broad speculation and the work of one “colleague” who serves as the dean of the University of Chicago’s Public Policy school. Despite a small spectrum of references, Summers maintained “thousands would die” if tax reform went through.
“My current judgment is that if anything, my claim that over an unspecified horizon “thousands would die” takes too serene a view of the health consequences of the tax bill,” he wrote.
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