Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Someone’s Going To Emergency

I wrote earlier about people who willingly vote against their own self-interest because of their fear of “something out there” such as affordable health care is going to ruin their lives.  Here’s a perfect example via Vox:

CORBIN, Kentucky — Kathy Oller is so committed to her job signing up fellow Kentuckians for Obamacare that last Halloween, she dressed up as a cat, set up a booth at a trick-or-treat event, and urged people to get on the rolls. She’s enrolled so many people in the past three years that she long ago lost count.

“Must be somewhere in the thousands,” she said to me one morning at a local buffet restaurant where she’d just finished an enrollment event with the staff.

The health care law has helped lots of people in Whitley County, where Oller works. The uninsured rate has fallen from 25 percent in 2013 to 10 percent today, according to data from the nonprofit Enroll America. Overall, Kentucky is now tied with West Virginia for the biggest increase in health coverage.

But Obamacare’s success in Whitley County and across Kentucky hasn’t translated into political support for the law. In fact, 82 percent of Whitley voters supported Donald Trump in the presidential election, even though he promised to repeal it.

Oller voted for Trump too.

“I found with Trump, he says a lot of stuff,” she said. “I just think all politicians promise you everything and then we’ll see. It’s like when you get married — ‘Oh, honey, I won’t do this, oh, honey, I won’t do that.’”

I spent last week in southeastern Kentucky talking to Obamacare enrollees, all of whom supported Trump in the election, trying to understand how the health care law factored into their decisions.

Many expressed frustration that Obamacare plans cost way too much, that premiums and deductibles had spiraled out of control. And part of their anger was wrapped up in the idea that other people were getting even better, even cheaper benefits — and those other people did not deserve the help.

There was a persistent belief that Trump would fix these problems and make Obamacare work better. I kept hearing informed voters, who had watched the election closely, say they did hear the promise of repeal but simply felt Trump couldn’t repeal a law that had done so much good for them. In fact, some of the people I talked to hope that one of the more divisive pieces of the law — Medicaid expansion — might become even more robust, offering more of the working poor a chance at the same coverage the very poor receive.

So these people who have been presented with irrefutable evidence that Trump lies about everything from the size of his hands to the size of his fortunes; who can’t keep a story straight sometimes within one sentence and who has promised them the moon and everything else are sure that he won’t follow through on his promise to repeal Obamacare and might even make it better while at the same time kicking the “welfare queens” to the curb.

It’s really hard to muster up any sympathy for these people.  Yes, of course it will be very tough on them when the Republicans knock them off their insurance and privatize Medicare so that they’re left holding the bag on everything from routine tests like mammograms to emergency care.  But they had a good thing going and they willingly voted for the guy who said he’ll take it away because he’s white and he’s not really gonna do it, right?

Here’s a lesson they teach you at the poker table: If you can’t spot the mark at the table, you’re the mark.

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