No one really gets turned down for life-saving medical care in the US. Sure, you might get a bill and have to apply for assistance through the hospital (to write off your bill), but they're not going to withhold treatment.
Well, what a hospital defines as "life-saving medical care" and what is actually life-saving medical care can differ significantly. The example I always come back to is a friend of mine who was diagnosed with Type I diabetes in his late teens. He was into music, so started a band, worked at some shitty CD stores earning minimum wage with no benefits, etc. No insurance, no possibility of insurance with a pre-existing condition like that one. He became an entrepreneur at one point, with a successful small business. He kinda managed his diabetes but you know, he had to buy insulin, syringes, and blood testing supplies. I have no idea how much it was back then, but this month I had to buy insulin for a cat (there is no special cat insulin, this is normally sold for humans) to the tune of $275-$300 for 10ml. The cat, at 11.5 lbs, gets 0.04ml/day but I would imagine a human uses much more. If it's a linear extrapolation, a 115 lb human would use 0.4ml/day, so about 25 days worth. I can't remember what the syringes cost and the blood testing kits are purchased by the vet and incorporated into the vet visits. I will guess that if the cat's diabetes costs $300 or more a month, a human would be at least that. So on minimum wage, that's a pretty significant portion of one's take-home pay. Gross pay would be $290/week for a 40 hr week-all of this in today's dollars. So, one week out of each month is going to basic "don't die" maintenance.
Suffice to say, I'll hazard a guess that this friend tried to stretch things a little. Test the blood less often than recommended. Fiddle with the insulin to make it last the whole month (25 days isn't even all of February). Etc. Maybe he had a particularly difficult manifestation of the disease, I don't know. I didn't talk to him about the details of his medical care because I barely do that with my blood relatives. What I do know is, eventually his kidneys were basically non-functional because of this. He lost most of his eyesight. He had some strokes. His nerves to his legs failed and he became paralyzed. His digestive system become problematic. Along the way, he could no longer maintain his work and at some point in this process, yes, Medicaid picked up the tab because in their definition it became "life-saving care". The United States health care system, touted by conservatives at the time as "the best in the world", would not pay for his insulin or testing or regular visits to an internal med MD, but happily gave him dialysis several times a week and MRIs for some strokes and then after his wife couldn't care for him at home, housing and care in a long term care facility until even that wasn't enough and he passed away in 2016
He was 40 years old. Forty
. Now, I have zero idea how much Medicare paid out for his care over the last few years of his short life. I surmise it was a FUCKTON MORE THAN INSULIN FOR FUCK'S SAKE. Insulin! Which, by the way, was discovered well over 100 years ago, so who the fuck knows why there are still patents all over the place and it costs as much as many people here pay in rent. All this due to the "best health care system in the world". Saying it's the best does not make it the best. If this person had been born in and lived in any other industrialized nation, he would still be not only alive, but quite possibly thriving. When a normal person dies at half his age expectancy from a fully treatable disease that lacked for nothing more than support to pay for it, it is in no way the best health care system or even anywhere close to all that great. If the ACA had been passed when conservatives were shitting a brick over Hillary's first attempt at a better system, he would have gotten the support he needed and would probably be alive today. And paying taxes.
So yeah, if the ACA is repealed and there is no reasonably decent alternative, people like this WILL die. Not just obese people or smokers...regular people who just happen to have bad luck or who are poor. This includes children and babies, and women giving birth, for those of you who think you are "pro-life" but also that everyone "should take care of themselves". You either have to accept that lack of a health care system will mean preventable deaths of Americans, or you have to support a comprehensive health care system, or you have to be OK with huge deficit spending (if you mandate health care but don't tax the population appropriately to pay for it). Or I suppose you would have to compel doctors and nurses to work for much less/free, and somehow seize pharmaceuticals from the companies that charge high prices for them. It's math plus morality. I think that the people advocating no system or a "free market" system are immoral.