MSNBC Contributor Jonathan Alter Says Mitt Romney Repeal of Obamacare Equals Death

Following the lead of the controversial SuperPAC ad that essentially accused Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney of playing a role in a women’s death from cancer, Bloomberg View columnist Jonathan Alter appeared on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show” on Thursday night and warned that the consequences of a Romney presidency are “death.”

“Remember, the House of Representatives has repealed Obamacare 31 times. If Mitt Romney is elected president, they will repeal it and he will sign that repeal on the first day of his presidency, in the first week of his presidency, as he has pledged,” Alter said.

He explained that he wants the media to stop focusing on Romney’s tax returns and start focusing on what the dire implications of repealing President Obama’s sweeping health care law: Death for thousands of people.

“Instead, what the press should be focused on is what are the consequences of repeal of Obamacare. And the consequences, as Mike just indicated, are death. Repeal equals death,” said Alter.

He went on to say that he is not exaggerating or being dramatic at all.

“People will die in the United States if Obamacare is repealed. That is not an exaggeration, that is not crying fire, it is a simple fact. If you have preexisting conditions and you are thrown off of health insurance or if you get sick after you and your husband, spouse, loses the job, you are not going to do to the doctor as soon, your cancer of disease is not going to be caught as quickly and your odds of dying are much, much increased,” he said.

However, Romney said the following after the Supreme Court’s decision on Obamacare: “Gotta make sure that those people who have pre-existing conditions know that they will be able to be insured and they will not lose their insurance.” He called for “real” health care reform.

Also, in a previous statement initially provided to the Huffington Post, Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said about Romney’s stance on preexisting conditions: “Governor Romney supports reforms to protect those with preexisting conditions from being denied access to a health plan while they have continuous coverage.”

MSNBC Contributor Jonathan Alter Says Mitt Romney Repeal of Obamacare Equals Death

And it is President Obama to the rescue of course, Alter added. Host Ed Schultz can be seen throughout Alter’s rant shaking his head in agreement.

“So Obamacare will save, literally, thousands of lives. And this is what the debate should be about. Do we, as a country, want to throw sick Americans to the wolves?” he asked.

In response, Mediaite’s Tommy Christopher — siding against Romney and Republicans — explains that the health care issue is just “too complicated for Republicans.” He writes:

Alter is absolutely right, no matter who you want to blame for Joe Soptic not having insurance for his wife, there’s really no way around the fact that she didn’t seek treatment soon enough because she didn’t have insurance. Even the Romney campaign acknowledges this.

But delaying treatment is just one of the ways in which not having health insurance kills people. As Cenk Uygurpointed out on The Young Turks last night, even if Soptic’s wife had gone to the emergency room at the first sign of trouble (which people don’t do, mainly because they realize that Emergency Rooms are for, y’know, emergencies), they don’t treat for cancer in emergency rooms. The conservative trope that nobody dies from lack of insurance because they can go to the ER is a lie. Emergency Rooms don’t offer health care, they offer sick and/or dying care.

One recent study estimates the number of Americans who die prematurely each year due to a lack of health insurance to be around 26,000, but notes that other studies suggest the number could be much higher. Even if you do have insurance, your insurance company will look for ways to deny treatment, or even to cancel your insurance, if you let them.

We should be having that conversation, we should be asking of that’s the kind of country we want to live in, but the mainstream media is ill-equipped, failing even to call Mitt Romneyout on the lie that he has any plan at all for people with preexisting conditions. The issue is just too complicated for many journalists to understand, let alone cover.

In fact, I’m starting to think health care is too complicated for Republicans, and I don’t mean that as an insult.

Not an insult?

Watch Alter make his case that a Romney presidency and the repeal of Obamacare equals certain death via MSNBC here:

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This story has been updated for clarity.