Sen. Angus King of Maine is defending his contention that Obamacare opponents who urged college students not to buy health insurance were "guilty of murder."
"If you persuade people not to buy insurance, they're going to have dramatic financial problems or even death," King, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, told The Bangor Daily News
"To tell people to consciously and deliberately advise people not to get health insurance because of your opposition to the law, that’s grossly irresponsible."
He cited studies which conclude between 20,000 and 45,000 people die each year because they lack health insurance.
On Monday, King told a reporter from Salon.com that those who urged college students to skip insurance "are guilty of murder in my opinion."
"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, governor of the Pine Tree State from 1995 to 2003, said he will work with Republicans and Democrats to improve the Affordable Care Act, but those efforts must be separate from a budget bill.
"What’s happening is a very dangerous precedent for how we make laws; it's as if we're rewriting the Constitution," King said.
"There isn't a chapter in the Constitution which says if all else fails, just hold the government hostage and maybe you can get your way," he said.
King's beliefs have a personal edge — he was diagnosed with cancer before he turned 30.
"I think the reason I feel so strongly about this is that if someone had [advised me not to buy insurance] when I was 25, I wouldn't be here, I'd be dead," said King, now 69.
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