Thursday, December 22, 2016
A Tragedy Of Shakespearean Proportions
Dana Milbank, opinion writer for the Washington Post, was featured on some of the news shows yesterday to discuss Trump voters who desperately rely on Obamacare (The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act). His article appeared Tuesday and was creating quite a buzz. I, for one, enjoyed 20 minutes of TV that didn’t feature Putin or the words “Conflict of Interest”. Still, this is a serious issue, and we will treat it with a little more respect than Mr. Milbank.
There are and always will be Americans who vote against their personal interest. This is a link to a Forbes article on the issue. But as this article and many like it point out, it is not necessarily that simple. Poor people in Kentucky didn’t decide on Election Day to screw themselves. The previously uninsured didn’t vote for Donald Trump because he vowed to repeal Obamacare. Interviewing them now, a month after the election and a month before anything has changed is unfair to them. It is bad enough to be poor. We don’t need to make them look stupid.
I have a number of clients who have benefited from the PPACA who still voted for Trump. Let’s take a quick look at some of the possible reasons for their choice.
It Didn’t Matter – There are many people who feel that Obamacare will be repealed loudly and retained quietly. We may end up with Trumpcare, a modification that fixes some issues while creating new problems. The Republicans declare victory and the Democrats cede the next 5 years of glitches and complications to the other side.
The Bright Side – I have at least one client predicting a major economic recovery that will result in more jobs with benefits. If they score better gigs, they won’t need individual coverage and all of this will cease to be relevant to THEM.
A Better Way – There must be a better option and their team’s got it. No matter how many times they have been let down by politicians of both parties in the past, this could be the time they get it right.
There Are Other Issues – Health Insurance is really important to me, but I doubt that there are many single issue Health Insurance voters. Abortion, Pro-Life or Pro-Choice, seems to drive people to the polls. Immigration and jobs, too. People were riled up and voted AGAINST Obamacare, often without understanding its positive impact on them personally, but I think that they saw it as part of a whole, a failure of Washington to properly serve and protect them.
Regardless of why or who voted for Donald Trump, the election is over and about 40% of us have spoken. Donald Trump will be the next president and he has a Republican controlled Congress. He has nominated Tom Price (R-GA) to be the next Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Mr. Price is famously anti-Obama and anti-Obamacare. His solutions are radically different and concerning. Will the Price plan or something like it be implemented? No one knows at this point.
Congress will be very active in January and February. It will be important for all of us to watch them closely and share our thoughts with our elected officials. I don’t think that we will see any major changes in 2017, but that is my guess. I will be in Washington in February, in part to discuss my clients’ needs and how the actions of Congress can help or hurt my people.
Until then, if you need a liver transplant like Mr. Mills of Whitley County, Kentucky, I strongly suggest that you get this scheduled soon. The press may paint you as a victim of your own folly for being in this mess, but if you put it off too long this really could be a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions.