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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

As the drama crests this week surrounding possible Senate passage of an extraordinarily punitive health care bill, we should ask, why is the GOP so heartless? Why are Republicans bent on cutting access to care for the most vulnerable people, especially the poor—including the white working-class voters who were said to be a pillar of Trump’s base?

After the election, many in mainstream and progressive media said that Trump’s base, and indeed the wave that lifted the GOP into its congressional majority today, were white working-class voters who abandoned Democrats en masse. The Atlantic heralded Trump’s “blue-collar” rise on “class, not ideology.” The AP pointed to “both parties’ working-class whites.” Thomas Frank—whose 2004 book, What’s the Matter With Kansas, traced the rise of white conservatives—described Trump’s base as mostly “working-class whites” worried about the economy.

It turns out that most of the Americans who helped elect Trump and the GOP are white, but they are not poor. In his crusade to dismantle Obamacare and cut Medicaid’s future appropriations by a quarter, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is not turning on his voters; according to recently released national survey data, those who voted for Trump and the GOP in 2016 are overwhelmingly white, yes; but the majority of them are not poor and not working class.

“A few weeks ago, the American National Election Study—the longest-running election survey in the United States—released its 2016 survey data. And it showed that in November 2016, the Trump coalition looked a lot like it did during the primaries,” blogged Duke University’s Nicholas Carnes and Vanderbilt University’s Noam Lupu for the Washington Post. “Trump’s voters weren’t overwhelmingly poor. In the general election, like the primary, about two-thirds of Trump supporters came from the better-off half of the economy.”

“In short, the narrative that attributes Trump’s victory to a ‘coalition of mostly blue-collar white and working-class voters’ just doesn’t square with the 2016 election data,” they said, explaining that most pollsters incorrectly assumed that the 70 percent of Americans who don’t have college degrees were working class and poorer—and many are not.

“Many analysts have argued that the partisan divide between more and less educated people is bigger than ever. During the general election, 69 percent of Trump voters in the election study didn’t have college degrees. Isn’t that evidence that the working class made up most of Trump’s base? The truth is more complicated: many of the voters without college educations who supported Trump were relatively affluent,” they wrote.

In the survival-of-the-fittest world of American capitalism and GOP politics, there’s no shortage of right-wingers bashing the poor, whether they are white or not. That mindset clearly has spilled over into those promoting the GOP’s health care bills, where a schism is emerging between the voters in the GOP’s 2016 base and those McConnell’s bill is targeting.

A typical example emerged this weekend on CBS-TV’s Face the Nation, where Ben Domenech, the Federalist’s founder and publisher, smeared Ohio’s Medicaid disability recipients as unworthy of public benefits.

“When Governor Kasich, you know, pushed for the Medicaid expansion in Ohio, he ended up having to throw 34,000 disabled people off of the program because it incentivized adding these working, able-bodied adults over people who actually were in the system who had disabilities or had other dependence,” he said, repeating the GOP’s old trope of deadbeats on welfare.

There’s nothing new about this undercurrent in the GOP. Last year, writing in the National Review, Kevin D. Williamson went after poor whites (drawn to Trump) as people who could do the nation a favor by dying.

“The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die,” he wrote. “Economically, they are negative assets. Morally, they are indefensible. Forget all your cheap theatrical Bruce Springsteen crap. Forget your sanctimony about struggling Rust Belt factory towns and your conspiracy theories about the wily Orientals stealing our jobs….The white American underclass is in thrall to a vicious, selfish culture whose main products are misery and used heroin needles.”

How much of this attitude is reflected in the Republicans’ health care bills? The answer is plenty. The House-passed bill takes $820 billion out of future Medicaid appropriations over the next decade, rapidly phases out government subsidies for insurance premiums bought by individuals on government exchanges and deregulates insurance without any coverage requirements or price controls. While those policies will cause chaos across the economic spectrum, including the middle class, the poor are the hardest hit.

The Senate bill has even harsher elements than the House bill. It would cut Medicaid more by turning it into a rationed-care system where states receive grants, and adopt a stingy new formula for annual increases. Health policy experts have noted McConnell’s plan wants “lower-income people to pay more.” Its use of tax credits to offset premium increases and deductibles will be of little use to the working-class poor and lower-income seniors, a new analysis from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities found.

Just as mainstream media mischaracterized those who elected Trump and the GOP, it’s likely they are missing the same ingredient in who would be hurt most by the GOP’s health care proposals: non-GOP voters. It’s not just blue states that would see the largest rollbacks—as they are the states that most aggressively embraced Obamacare and its expansion of Medicaid. It’s also poorer people, working-class whites and non-whites, who, as the American National Election Study notes, didn’t elect Trump and the GOP.

Where McConnell’s plan is likely to fall off the rails is from the chaos it would bring to more middle-class and affluent whites—or red rural states like Alaska and Maine with high health care costs. That is, if his efforts to please corporate health care interests are seen as backfiring on Tea Partiers who infamously yelled, “Hands off my Medicare.” (Late Monday’s release Congressional Budget Office analysis may provide that catalyst, projecting the Senate bill will leave 22 million Americans uninsured by 2026.)

But as policy experts dug into the Senate bill on Monday, their analyses seemed to confirm that McConnell’s bill wasn’t targeting his party’s better-off base. One newly discovered provision would lock out anyone who missed an insurance payment from buying a new policy for six months. One-third of those with pre-existing conditions had this coverage gap in the past two years, but they tend to be poorer. Another report found the bill could push seniors out of nursing homes paid by Medicaid, as a subsidy of Medicare.

Those likely to be hardest hit include working-class whites, but they were not Trump’s voters, the analysis by Duke University’s Nicholas Carnes and Vanderbilt University’s Noam Lupu underscored. “According to the [American National] Election study, white non-Hispanic voters without college degrees making below the median household income made up only 25 percent of Trump voters. That’s a far cry from the working class-fueled victory many journalists have imagined.”

No one ever accused McConnell of not knowing what he is doing.

Steven Rosenfeld covers national political issues for AlterNet, including America’s democracy and voting rights. He is the author of several books on elections and the co-author of Who Controls Our Schools: How Billionaire-Sponsored Privatization Is Destroying Democracy and the Charter School Industry (AlterNet eBook, 2016).

 

This article was made possible by the readers and supporters of AlterNet.

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24 responses to “GOP Health Care Plan Crushes Working Families, Not Affluent Trump Voters”

  1. bojimbo26 says:

    Apologies – but , I live in the UK and are there Affluent Trump Voters ? In other words , are the voters incomes looked into ?

  2. Godzilla says:

    Healthcare is a disaster because of DEMOCRATS! You own this mess, period. Not to mention your Russia fairy tale is falling apart daily:

    https://youtu.be/jdP8TiKY8dE

  3. Thoughtopsy says:

    Greed.
    It all comes back to Greed.

  4. There is a large segment in the story above which reminds me of the thinking of the early eugenicists in America, and the relevant paragraphs from above are as follows:

    —————————————————————————————————————–
    “A typical example emerged this weekend on CBS-TV’s Face the Nation, where Ben Domenech, the Federalist’s founder and publisher, smeared Ohio’s Medicaid disability recipients as unworthy of public benefits.

    “When Governor Kasich, you know, pushed for the Medicaid expansion in Ohio, he ended up having to throw 34,000 disabled people off of the program because it incentivized adding these working, able-bodied adults over people who actually were in the system who had disabilities or had other dependence,” he said, repeating the GOP’s old trope of deadbeats on welfare.

    There’s nothing new about this undercurrent in the GOP. Last year, writing in the National Review, Kevin D. Williamson went after poor whites (drawn to Trump) as people who could do the nation a favor by dying.

    “The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die,” he wrote. “Economically, they are negative assets. Morally, they are indefensible. Forget all your cheap theatrical Bruce Springsteen crap….”
    —————————————————————————————————————-

    The birthplace of the Eugenics Movement started in Pence’s home state, Indiana, in the 1940’s, and would become policy and a practice. The proponents then used pseudo-science and Mendelian genetics to justify classifying humans according to outward traits which were deemed as anti-social and inimical to the well-being of society. “Eugenics”, from the Greek word “eugenes”, meaning “well-born”, was seen as a way to weed out defective humans from the population. (The Germans, Swedes, British, and other nations would pick up on this grand experiment in Eugenics, with devastating effects in Germany, Australia, South Africa and Namibia.

    The likes of Galton, one of several seminal figures in formalizing a theory of racialism, were keen to place people in categories, as an extension of a fascination with the outcome of breeding animals by controlling their mating to develop better stock. Mendel would apply his observations of plant breeding, and he and Galton thought it would be logical to apply breeding of plants and animals to humans.

    The fitter humans must have been the result of superior genes, they reasoned, and therefore society would benefit by urging(and coercing) certain “beautiful”, “fit”, and morally upstanding men and women to mate in order to improve the “race”—an artificial term which was to incorrectly take on biological meaning.

    “Three Generations, No Imbeciles”, a book which takes its title from the pseudoscience view that it takes 3 generations of a family having one or more “unfit” offspring to have that unfit component expunged from their gene pool—a patently false assumption which science was to debunk later, with the improved understanding of biology and human genetics—and common sense.

    My point is that the Conservatives today, remarkably, are using the same mental process in viewing members of American society, and crafting policies and language that distinguishes members of society as though they were animals—if they’re “fit”, they are deserving of preferential treatment. And if unfit, they deserve to be phased out of existence. Does it not seem an underlying current in the thinking of the GOP on so many levels???

    Later, I will include excerpts from the book so that you can see for yourself the similarities in thinking of eugenicists and racialists of the previous centuries with the GOP, the Alt-Right, various proponents of racist/racialist thinking today, and other conservative elements as well.

    The hysteria sweeping the GOP and it’s ancillary organs in society, in the media, and on-line, is critical in grasping its genesis, its linkages with pseudo-science myths, and the possible tragic outcomes.

    • If we consider the above brief synopsis on Eugenics and its rationale, and the GOP’s inordinate and immoral desire to inflict hardships on Americans, we should consider the following quotation from one of the Tablets of Baha’u’llah:

      “Man is the supreme Talisman. Lack of a proper education hath, however, deprived him of that which he doth inherently possess. Through a word proceeding out of the mouth of God he was called into being; by one word more he was guided to recognize the Source of his education; by yet another word his station and destiny were safeguarded. The Great Being saith: Regard man as a mine rich in gems of inestimable value. Education can, alone, cause it to reveal its treasures, and enable mankind to benefit therefrom. If any man were to meditate on that which the Scriptures, sent down from the heaven of God’s holy Will, have revealed, he would readily recognize that their purpose is that all men shall be regarded as one soul, so that the seal bearing the words “The Kingdom shall be God’s” may be stamped on every heart, and the light of Divine bounty, of grace, and mercy may envelop all mankind. The one true God, exalted be His glory, hath wished nothing for Himself. The allegiance of mankind profiteth Him not, neither doth its perversity harm Him. The Bird of the Realm of Utterance voiceth continually this call: “All things have I willed for thee, and thee, too, for thine own sake.” If the learned and worldly-wise men of this age were to allow mankind to inhale the fragrance of fellowship and love, every understanding heart would apprehend the meaning of true liberty, and discover the secret of undisturbed peace and absolute composure. Were the earth to attain this station and be illumined with its light it could then be truly said of it: “Thou shall see in it no hollows or rising hills.”

      What a stark contrast regarding humanity that Baha’u’llah has made available for us, in contrast to how the GOP views humanity.

  5. ivory69690@yahoo.com says:

    Well, this all begs the question: Cons, how do you plan to pay for tax cuts for the rich NOW? /// maybe get the money from the Russians money dry cleaning business washed and cleaned launder money

  6. ivory69690@yahoo.com says:

    think about this back 7 + years when some up to 50 votes and beyond on Repeal and replace’ the ACA think of if the first vote the GOP won and it was to be the ACA would be Repeal and replaced then . OK Repealed and replaced with what ??? if in 7 + plus years the GOP still cant come up with a health-care plan to do just that Repeal and replace’ back 7 plus years what would the people of the country had got from the GOP with their Repeal and replace’? would today be the end of all that would be gotten from their Repeal and replacement plan and would today be what 23 million that had loss their health-care plan . ok or would it be ONLY 19 million loss it and in the next 3 years the numbers would go up to the 23 million mark ? and would have the GOP 7 plus year’s ago planning to give the 1 & 2 percent greedy rich those big tax cuts back then also ? instead of just giving the rich tax money and crying about the country’s DEBT all the time work to help the people and bring down the country’s DEBT simple just be fair to all the people . make all the people pay a fair share of a percentage in taxes no more no e same fair share . with that money the country could pay down the DEBT and have money to help all the people of the country !

  7. ivory69690@yahoo.com says:

    you have this press security HUCKABURRY she sets there crying about the lies and fake news . hey HUCKABERRY its the DUMPSTER that the NEW YORK TIMES just put out a whole page of more like FAKE NEWS AND ALL LIES . when she comes off and says that why don’t the reporters say what are you talking about ? fake news and lies all that comes from your clown boss . ask her how can she even think of saying anything about lying and fake news ? when her boss is the biggest pathological liar there is ! the world see the President as yes first a pathological liar 2nd a deranged child minded clown of his tweeter account . he is setting the USA as a laughing stalk of the world . is this how the POTUS should be portraying himself at the leader of America ? the world is learning more and more every day of the pathological liar he is . it will soon (if it hasn’t already ) no other country can believe a word he says

  8. To continue my thread of thought connecting the way the GOP policies and manner of thinking reflects the thinking of early racialist and eugenicists of the 19th and early 20th century, let’s review some comments by the GOP on the current healthcare debacle:

    ———————————————————————————————————–
    “A typical example emerged this weekend on CBS-TV’s Face the Nation, where Ben Domenech, the Federalist’s founder and publisher, smeared Ohio’s Medicaid disability recipients as unworthy of public benefits.

    “When Governor Kasich, you know, pushed for the Medicaid expansion in Ohio, he ended up having to throw 34,000 disabled people off of the program because it incentivized adding these working, able-bodied adults over people who actually were in the system who had disabilities or had other dependence,” he said, repeating the GOP’s old trope of deadbeats on welfare.

    There’s nothing new about this undercurrent in the GOP. Last year, writing in the National Review, Kevin D. Williamson went after poor whites (drawn to Trump) as people who could do the nation a favor by dying.

    “The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die,” he wrote. “Economically, they are negative assets. Morally, they are indefensible. Forget all your cheap theatrical Bruce Springsteen crap….”
    ————————————————————————————————————

    1) Now, on pages 83 of “Three Generations, No Imbeciles”, we have a chief judge, Harry Olson in Chicago, emphasizing “the importance of studying heredity as a touchstone for understanding crime.” He had charts purporting to link alcoholism, mental defects, being a sexual offender as being hereditary traits. Later on on the same page, Olson is cited as criticizing city officials for failing to consider the mental status of prostitutes having a assumed link with feeblemindedness, which in turn was believed linked with heredity.

    2) Same page, Olson is cited based on a quote attributed to him, as agreeing with a eugenics proponent, Laughlin, about the “dangers of uncontrolled immigration, which, since colonial days, had flooded America with ‘vagrants, ne’er do wells, women of the streets, and boys and girls of the slums and alleys’ “.

    3) Page 85, Olson cited as stressing heredity as the cause of crime, and him reminding his audience then of the need for legislation to “curb the menace of inferior stock”.

    There are so many other references which I’ve highlighted for my own personal references, but I would encourage all to purchase the paperback and see for yourselves the chilling parallels between the thinking then with the GOP today.

  9. TCarlucci says:

    The republican “healthcare” plan has nothing to do with healthcare and everything about giving an $800 Billion tax cut to the 1%’ers. Period.

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