GOP Congressman: More Uninsured People Means More Freedom

Republicans are already making excuses for the drop in insurance coverage they might cause.

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/AP

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


As Republicans try to balance their promise to repeal Obamacare with the health law’s increasing popularity, one GOP lawmaker employed a novel argument on Thursday: If fewer people are insured under the Republican replacement plan, that’s simply a sign of greater freedom.

For one of the central policy fights facing Congress, health care reform won’t get much discussion at the Conservative Political Action Conference, the annual Republican confab held just outside Washington, DC. The topic was scheduled for just one short panel Thursday afternoon. But given the way that discussion went, it’s understandable why organizers might not want to highlight the policy implications of their health care plans.

Rep. Mike Burgess (R-Texas), a doctor who sits on a House health subcommittee, told the conservative crowd that a reduction in the number of people with health insurance coverage shouldn’t be viewed as a negative. “If the numbers drop, I would say that’s a good thing,” Burgess said, “because we’ve restored personal liberty in this country, and I’m always for that.” Burgess seemed to imply that there are people who hate the idea of having health insurance but were forced to buy it because otherwise IRS agents would be “chasing [them] down” under the current law.

If Republicans do move forward with their efforts to tear down the Affordable Care Act, they’ll have to grapple with the consequences of a spike in the uninsured rate. Estimates suggest that 20 million people have gained insurance thanks to Obamacare.

 

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate