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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi described the Republican tax bill as an “Armageddon” and argued it’s the “end of the world” at a press conference Monday, and Democrat Minority Whip Steny Hoyer quickly provided cover.

“Minority leader, at this news conference and on the floor you, Democrats talk about this bill often in very apocalyptic terms, but isn’t really what’s going on that many people are getting a very modest tax cut, and some people are getting a tax increase, while a lot of this is also going to business but it’s not the end of the world?” a reporter asked Pelosi at the Capitol.

“No, it is the end of the world. This, healthcare, the debate on healthcare is life-death. This is Armageddon. This is a very big deal,” the 77-year-old lawmaker replied. “Because you know why? There’s really a very hard way to come back from this. They take us further, more deeply into debt. What can you do but raise taxes?”

Pelosi contends the Republican plan is to “throw a few crumbs to the middle class” with one hand and “take away the bounty with the other.”

“This is very serious for not only for what it does, but for how hard it would be to roll it back,” Pelosi said.

Hoyer wasted little time in correcting his colleague from California in a seemingly contradictory statement clearly aimed at restraining the Minority Leader’s grandstanding.

“Can I just add Nancy?” Hoyer said as Pelosi stepped aside.

“Look, I’m not going to say it’s the end of the world, and Nancy didn’t mean it’s the end of the world, but one ought not diminish the consequences of passing this bill,” he said.

“This is a debt tax,” Hoyer continued. “It’s a debt tax that will deeply undermine the ability of the United States to protect the security of Americans, both abroad and here at home, deeply and adversely affect the ability to invest in priorities that we need to grow the economy and create jobs, and it will be a hole that will be the deepest hole dug by a single bill the in the years I have been here in the Congress of the United States …”

The life or death perspective on the Republican tax plan seems to be centered on the proposed elimination of the individual mandate in former President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which forces healthy people who can afford health insurance but don’t want it to pay a penalty to the federal government.

According to ThinkProgress:

Appearing on CNBC Monday, Harvard economist and former Obama and Clinton administration official Larry Summers warned that if the Senate tax bill becomes law, about 10,000 people will die every year who otherwise would have lived. …

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that, if the individual mandate is repealed, 13 million fewer Americans will be insured by 2027.

Studies suggest that when the government doesn’t force people to buy health insurance they don’t want, some die. One study based on Massachusetts’ insurance reforms allegedly shows that for every 830 adults who gain insurance there’s one fewer death, while another based on figures in Arizona, Maine, and New York put the ratio at one life saved for every 176 insured.

Extrapolating those findings with the CBO’s estimate of 13 million fewer Americans insured would mean between 16,600 and 74,000 people could allegedly die by 2027 without insurance, ThinkProgress reports.

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