Republicans Are Bad For Your Health

This is just a drive-by sidelight on Richard’s brief — but its worth taking a look at this explainer from the Upshot.

The good news:  Obamacare is doing what it set out to do.  Kevin Quealy and Margot Sanger-Katz write that

The biggest winners from the law include people between the ages of 18 and 34; blacks; Hispanics; and people who live in rural areas. The areas with the largest increases in the health insurance rate, for example, include rural Arkansas and Nevada; southern Texas; large swaths of New Mexico, Kentucky and West Virginia; and much of inland California and Oregon.

Each of these trends is going in the opposite direction of larger economic patterns. Young people have fared substantially worse in the job market than older people in recent years. Blacks and Hispanics have fared worse than whites and Asians. Rural areas have fallen further behind larger metropolitan areas.

Women are the one modest exception. They have benefited more from Obamacare than men, and they have received larger raises in recent years. But of course women still make considerably less money than men, so an economic benefit for women still pushes against inequality in many ways. [all links in the original]


The bad news:  it sucks to be ruled by the Republican cabal.  Or rather, it’s great if your state government actually managed to get used to the idea of Free Money! (h/t the indispensable Charles Pierce):

Despite many Republican voters’ disdain for the Affordable Care Act, parts of the country that lean the most heavily Republican (according to 2012 presidential election results) showed significantly more insurance gains than places where voters lean strongly Democratic. That partly reflects underlying rates of insurance. In liberal places, like Massachusetts and Hawaii, previous state policies had made insurance coverage much more widespread, leaving less room for improvement. But the correlation also reflects trends in wealth and poverty. Many of the poorest and most rural states in the country tend to favor Republican politicians. Of course, the fact that Republican areas showed disproportionate insurance gains does not mean that only Republicans signed up; there are many Democrats living in even the most strongly Republican regions of the country.

But for the rest…

There are still a lot of uninsured people remaining, many in the places that had high uninsured rates last year.

Where would those folk live?  Check out the last map in the piece.  No one here will be surprised.

Image: Rembrandt van Rijn, Christ Preaching (Christ Healing the Sick — the hundred guilder print), 1646-50.

26 replies
  1. 1
    Mike E says:

    GOS has some good news about a project I’m working on.

  2. 2
    c u n d gulag says:

    And what can the Democrats expect in the way of thanks from the rural white rubes, for their new health care?

    Now, these rural white rubes will live longer, and vote for Republicans longer.

    You expected something else?

  3. 3
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Mike E: May your tribe ever increase.

  4. 4
    SRW1 says:

    But, but, but …. It’s not Obamacare that does it, it’s the website! I know that, cause Mitch told me so!

  5. 5
    Matt McIrvin says:

    I’m kind of amazed that there was any improvement at all in Massachusetts. I guess Medicaid expansion was a significant help. One very visible component of the system got worse, since they tried to revamp the exchange website to harmonize with the ACA and screwed it up, thanks to the same contractor who did the national site.

    Fauquier County, VA was a rare case of a county where the fraction of uninsured increased… it’s both rich and sparsely populated, but I wonder what the story is apart from that.

  6. 6
    MomSense says:

    @Mike E:

    Oh please, please, please let your little project be successful.

  7. 7
    big ole hound says:

    @c u n d gulag: True. If we took all subsidies away from rural farming America and their communities and make them play by “fair market” rules I suspect the flood to the cities would be overwhelming. The subsequent loss of rural red House seats would change our government forever.

  8. 8
    Patrick says:

    The biggest winners from the law include people between the ages of 18 and 34; blacks; Hispanics; and people who live in rural areas.

    I think anybody with a pre-existing condition is a winner.

  9. 9
    Matt McIrvin says:

    I’m also amazed at the amount of improvement that happened even in some red states where the state government was actively trying to sabotage the system. In the heavily Latino areas of southern Texas the situation has gotten a lot better, though it’s still not good; imagine what they could do with Medicaid expansion and real outreach.

  10. 10
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @c u n d gulag: Eyeballing it, it looks to me like many of the people who saw the biggest gains were not rural white rubes, but rural black and Hispanic people who live in Republican states.

    The starkest exceptions to that are in greater Appalachia: Kentucky, Arkansas and West Virginia. They’ve all currently got Democratic governors, though they tend to vote Republican in presidential elections these days and the degree of redness of their Congressional delegations varies.

  11. 11
    Violet says:

    @Mike E: That’s awesome.

  12. 12
    piratedan says:

    @Matt McIrvin: Matt, Fauquier County was known as fox country when I used to live there as a teen. My best guess is that the rich are doing so well there that they can afford to hire more help to manage and care for their stately mansions, as such, more poor folks working for the jerb creators…. /////

  13. 13
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @piratedan: My mom (lived in western Fairfax County, worked as a school psychologist in the Prince William system, including some impoverished bits) used to call them “the horsey people.”

    1% of the population of Fauquier is only several hundred people. I was wondering how many of them were actually wingnuts who intentionally cancelled their health insurance and took the penalty hit to stick it to Obama. (Or at that level it could be pure survey noise.)

  14. 14
    piratedan says:

    @Matt McIrvin: well in rural Virginia, they can be stubborn stupid, these are the country counterparts to the plantation people down from the James River basins. Beautiful countryside, but I left there many many moons ago…

  15. 15
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Mike E: That is indeed great news.

    I am somewhat optimistic as the final week of the season kicks in. I am hoping for crestfallen faces on Faux Noise come election night. I also look forward to the vile creature that is Chuckles the Toddler squirming.

  16. 16
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Republicans Are Bad For Your Health

    There, fixed that for you.

  17. 17
    Juju says:

    @Mike E: I early voted yesterday and voted with a friend who had never voted in the midterm elections before in her life. My mother early voted with us. She is of the so called FOX demographic, but she hates FOX, and hasn’t voted republican since Eisenhower.

    I’m feeling optimistic.

  18. 18
    Juju says:

    @Mike E: I’m in eastern NC. I forgot to mention that in the previous relply. My friend changed her party affiliation from R to D after hanging around with me for the last couple of years. I even had her GOTV with me for 2012, while she was still a registered R.

  19. 19
    Berial says:

    “We work hard at being last”.

    This article will really depress ya, Mississippi Burned

  20. 20
    Berial says:

    And I think these guys are onto something. The current version of ‘conservatism’ is just ‘White Supremacy’ writ large.

    Jamelle Bouie on Mississippi’s legacy of white supremacy

  21. 21
    Mike E says:

    @Juju: Forward together, not one step back!

  22. 22
    Mnemosyne says:


    I was surprised to see that Politico actually had an interesting, informative article, but it turned out to have been written by someone from Kaiser Health News, not Politico.

    And for anyone who wants a summary, it’s basically about how intra-Republican politics killed health insurance reform in Mississippi.

  23. 23
    Matt McIrvin says:

    And yet, there are still counties in Mississippi in which 10% of the population managed to get insured because of the ACA. Again, imagine what would happen if the state government weren’t sabotaging the system.

  24. 24
    Ed S says:

    This may sound harsh, but it may be worth noting that with the reduced expansion of the ACA in red states, we will likely have less older Republican voters.

    Always trying to see the silver lining!

  25. 25
    rikyrah says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    In the heavily Latino areas of southern Texas the situation has gotten a lot better, though it’s still not good; imagine what they could do with Medicaid expansion and real outreach.

    almost six million people would gain access to basic healthcare if Medicaid were expanded in all the states with GOP governors.

  26. 26
    rikyrah says:


    doesn’t surprise me in the least.

    Nobody can tell me anything about the hellhole that is the state of Mississippi.

    Once the last of my close relatives died, I vowed not to return to the state.

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