Sunday, November 20, 2016

Rural America Voted Trump, Now Worries Over Medicaid Cutbacks and Broken Promises

The idiocy of much of the GOP's rural base is at times stunning.  Year after year, GOP appeals to racism, right wing Christian fanaticism, and a ever present message of the dangers posed by those who are "other" is used to induce rural voters to vote against their own economic best interest.  Now, it seems that some in Kentucky may be belatedly figuring out that they were played for fools and may have cut their own throats.  Other rural regions that voted for Trump will likely also end up empty handed.  Perhaps I am cruel, but I really have no sympathy for these people (except their young children) if they voted for Trump/Pence and Republicans in general.  A piece at NPR looks at the angst now being experienced by many who may now lose their health coverage through Medicaid expansion that would be lost if Trump and the GOP keep their promise to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act, a/k/a Obamacare. A similar piece in Salon looks at how Trump supporters were played for fools and have screwed themselves.  First these excerpts from NPR:
For Freida Lockaby, an unemployed 56-year-old woman who lives with her dog in an aging mobile home in Manchester, Ky., one of America's poorest places, the Affordable Care Act was life altering.
The law allowed Kentucky to expand Medicaid in 2014 and made Lockaby – along with 440,000 other low-income state residents – newly eligible for free health care under the state-federal insurance program. Enrollment gave Lockaby her first insurance in 11 years. But Lockaby is worried her good fortune could soon end. Her future access to health care now hinges on a controversial proposal to revamp the program that her state's Republican governor has submitted to the Obama administration.
Next year will likely bring more uncertainty when a Trump administration and a GOP-controlled Congress promise to consider Obamacare's repeal, including a potential reduction in the associated Medicaid expansion in 31 states and the District of Columbia that has led to health coverage for an estimated 10 million people. Kentucky's enrollment has doubled since late 2013 and today almost a third of its residents are in the program. The Medicaid expansion under Obamacare in Kentucky has led to one of the sharpest drops in any state's uninsured rate, to 7.5 percent in 2015 from 20 percent two years earlier.
Kentucky's achievement owed much to the success of its state-run exchange, Kynect, in promoting new coverage options under the health law. Kynect was launched under Bevin's Democratic predecessor, Steve Beshear, and dismantled by Bevin this year.
Bevin has threatened to roll back the expansion if the Obama administration doesn't allow him to make major changes, such as requiring Kentucky's beneficiaries to pay monthly premiums of $1 to $37.50 and require nondisabled recipients to work or do community service for free dental and vision care.
Trump's unexpected victory may help Bevin's chances of winning approval. Before the election, many analysts expected federal officials to reject the governor's plan by the end of the year on the grounds that it would roll back gains in expected coverage.
"I think it's much more likely that a waiver could be approved under the Trump administration," she said. "On the other hand, I wonder if the waiver will be a moot point under a Trump administration, assuming that major pieces of the [Affordable Care Act] are repealed."
Lockaby is watching with alarm: "I am worried to death about it."
About 60 percent of Clay County's 21,000 residents are covered by Medicaid, up from about a third before the expansion. The counties uninsured rate for non-elderly adults has fallen from 29 percent to 10 percent.

The piece in Salon also looks at the self-inflicted harm that may becoming to those who allowed themselves to be wooed by appeals to their racism and religious extremism.  Here are highlights:
You aren’t going to make any extra money under Donald Trump, so I hope your racism, or your attempt to ignore it, keeps you warm at night.
OK, we have all gotten the memo that it’s not cool or politically correct to yell “I hate the blacks, I hate the Mexicans and I hate the Jews!” But seriously, when was the last time the KKK celebrated a presidential election?
The real question is this: What’s the point? What do these white working-class people we’ve heard so much about really expect? Having a race-baiting president will not — I repeat, will not — transform into any opportunities for hard-working whites in America, just like the Obama candidacy didn’t deliver any black person from the issues that African-Americans have been facing since long before I was born.
A common theme that’s being tossed around is that Trump’s election was the white working class’ chance way to say “F**k you!” to the political elites who forgot about them, sucked up their factory jobs and left them out to dry. I take issue with this for a number of reasons.
The first and most obvious reason is this: How do you buck a system ruled by elites by electing a billionaire who was born rich, employed the Mexicans he blamed for taking jobs away and could never possibly understand someone else’s struggle?
What’s sad is that these angry, hard-working white people don’t understand that they saw more economic gains under President Obama than they did under George W. Bush. Unemployment went down across the board except among African-Americans ­­— the rate actually doubled for us — so those folks should be praising Obama, not championing Trump or subscribing to all this alt-right B.S.
Then there’s the myth of returning factory jobs. It’s not a real thing! And trust me, I used to subscribe to the same ideas, all caught up in the nostalgia of the old dudes from my neighborhood. My friend Al’s grandpa used to park his Cadillac on Ashland Avenue, hop out and roll up on us nine-year-olds like, “Finish high school, get a job at Bethlehem Steel and your future is set!”
Those jobs were long gone by the time we came of age, at Bethlehem Steel and almost every place like it across the country. They weren’t taken by Mexicans or sent overseas­­ — industries changed, new products were made and robots were invented that could do the job of 10 men and work all night without complaining. Those beautiful factory positions for uneducated hard-working whites (or anybody else) aren’t coming back, and I don’t care what Trump says.
We should be asking ourselves what’s going to happen when the forgotten Trump supporters are ignored by him­­. I challenge the Klansmen, the closet racists and the rest of his supporters to look deeper into Trump’s life and his business. Unlike you, he’s not committed to white, he’s committed to green, and your financial situation will not change.

 As noted above, I feel sorry for the children and youths fated to live in the declining regions.  As for the adults who supported Trump, they truly deserve the worse things that life can throw at them.   

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