by Bob Cesca
There's a bizarre hubris emerging among certain voters who cast their ballots for Donald Trump. They feel strangely immortal now -- somehow immune from the myriad downsides of this cartoon villain's incompetence.
Of course, they don't see his erratic behavior and dangerous inexperience as a problem. They foolishly believe that no matter what happens, the tsunami of shit will only impact Hillary Clinton voters, while Trumpers will be magically shielded from it all. For example, when it comes to Trump's reckless gabfest with the leader of Taiwan, Trump voters swarmed social media to enthusiastically backstop the call, apparently believing that if the nukes start flying, liberals will be the exclusive target.
Another example. The residents of Grays Harbor County, in Washington state, have voted for Democratic presidential candidates in every election since 1928 -- until this year when the county chose Donald Trump by a margin of around 2,000 votes. Inexplicably, 50 percent of the citizens there decided to potentially eliminate their own healthcare. It turns out, the county benefited greatly from the Affordable Care Act, which reduced the uninsured rate by a full ten points, from 19 percent to just nine percent. A significant chunk of the coverage is provided by the law's Medicaid expansion, covering 8,000 adults there.
More from Washington:
It's the red counties in our state that have flocked to Obamacare, using its subsidies and Medicaid expansion the most, according to data from the state insurance commissioner's office. Nine of the top 10 counties where the Affordable Care Act reduced the ranks of the uninsured the most also voted for Trump. Number one is deep-red Adams County, in Eastern Washington, home of rolling wheat farms and I-90 truck stops. Its uninsured rate plunged from 23 percent to 10 percent, almost all because Obamacare bought Medicaid coverage for about one in five Adams County adults between 18 and 65. Adams County voted for Trump by 38 percentage points.
Didn't they get the word? It's been all over the news for the last six years that the Republican Party and, with it, Donald Trump plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Maybe they don't know. But if they do, what the hell is their problem? It's possible they simply don't care. It's possible they're more concerned about making America great again, with or without dying or going broke from a lack of affordable coverage. Or perhaps they believe their loyalty will serve as a shield -- that nothing bad can happen to patriotic Trump supporters now that he's president-elect. If this is the case, it's impossible to think of anything quite so foolish.
Across the nation, it's the same story.
Around 13 million American adults have coverage through either Healthcare.gov or the statewide insurance marketplaces. 86 percent of the those adults approve of the ACA (aka "Obamacare"). It's also worth noting that a majority Americans don't approve repealing the law, while a considerable share of people who disapprove the law want it to go further by providing a public option and the like. By the way, broadly speaking, most Americans approve of the indivdual parts of the ACA, but disapprove when it's referred to as "Obamacare." Obviously. Meanwhile, 61 million Americans voted for Trump and for repealing the ACA. Paul Krugman calculated that around five million people voted against their own healthcare. It's fair to assume that a not insignificant percentage of those Trumpers have chronic medical issues requiring decent coverage. Sometime within the next two months to three years, Trump voters and non-Trump voters alike could be losing their insurance, perhaps forever depending on how everything susses out in Congress. All due to their own ignorance and blind allegiance to the orange menace.
No matter what they do or say, their status as Trump voters won't help them to retain their coverage and, like me, Trump voters will be screwed if matters proceed as promised.
What they and millions of other Americans don't fully grasp because the political press has tragically failed to talk about policy is this: there's no substantive justification for repealing the law and replacing it with something else. It's a massive risk, politically and economically, to quickly repeal the ACA, even if it's replaced in the same breath. For no other reason than its hatred of all things Obama, the Republican Party and the Trump regime is planning to toss the healthcare industry into chaos, taking with it millions of people who can't survive without constant coverage. Not only do the Republicans not have a plan for repealing and replacing, as evidenced by this profile in Politico, but they don't have any idea what a replacement law will look like. Why? Because the effort has been more about polls than actual plans. There's literally no other reason to repeal and replace the law other than what? Branding?
Ask a Republican why the ACA should be repealed and replaced, and you likely won't get a decent answer. First, very few members of Congress understand the law and can barely talk about it without sounding stupid. Sure, the ACA was slow to find its feet, though it's cranking along rather well now, all things considered. The only gripe we heard during the campaign had to do with the rise in premiums here or there, but it's a phenomenon that would've been far worse had the ACA never been passed. Indeed, while unsubsidized premiums in Phoenix, Birmingham and Oklahoma City have increased by as much as 145 percent, rates have simultaneously declined in cities like Mike Pence's Indianapolis, as well as in Cleveland, Boston and Providence. You won't hear this on the news or from the Republicans. In fact, no one's talking about the premiums in a realistic way.
Listening the Republicans, you'd think the entire thing is a bomb they desperately have to defuse... or else, BOOM!
“The sooner we can get rid of it, the better,” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), the outgoing leader of the Freedom Caucus. [...]
“It took six years to get into this mess; it’s going to take us a while to get out of it,” said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas). “One thing I know for sure is we can’t fail to deliver on the promise to repeal Obamacare.”
Make no mistake: their desperation is entirely about fulfilling their demagoguery about the law -- not about making healthcare better. This plan to hastily dismantle the ACA sounds horrendously cruel, even to the Trump voters with ACA policies who don't fully understand the ramifications of their votes. This isn't about improving the law or even about making America great. It's about cock-blocking a major Obama achievement and they simply don't care that millions of Americans, including me, will be handed either death sentences or Chapter 13 applications if something unpredictable happens with our health.
Ultimately, the first order of business for congressional Republicans and the Trump White House will be to kill something that's well liked by the people who need it. No creation going on here. Just destruction, and done so purely to fulfill the lies and disinformation the GOP has been spreading about the ACA since the beginning.
The rational solution, of course, would be to simply improve the law. Add a public option, get a better handle on premiums and subsidies, while expanding the law to cover more Americans. It's entirely possible, though unlikely, that a GOP replacement bill will succeed in doing that. And at what cost in the near term? Trump voters, many of whom are running around acting like sore winners expecting the entire American left to vanish simply because Trump weaseled his way to victory, are equally as vulnerable as the rest of us, even though they refuse to admit it.