Yes, you read correctly. If you think the issue of healthcare in the United States is not a life or death matter, you either have never had a serious health problem or you’re a majority shareholder, or senior administrator, of a large health insurance company. At times, I get leary of using the term ‘Obamacare’; it was originally used in the pejorative sense to spread misinformation. If you’ve ever bothered to see for yourself what the Affordable Care Act actually entails, and how many lives it will continue to save, you’ll find that there is a near infinite amount of misinformation about it. This includes the fact that the concept of an individual insurance mandate was originally a conservative idea cooked up by the Heritage Foundation itself, long before Obama was even nationally known. Indeed, American conservatism itself thrives on misinformation for the sake of convenience.
But even so, I believe the term ‘Obamacare’ will come to have mostly good connotations when Obama comes to be remembered as the man who took the first step in ending the Great American Nightmare of healthcare. No, the ACA is still not single payer, which again, is what I believe the US should have. But it is nonetheless, a step in the right direction. A direction that won’t stop here, we can hope.
Ok then, let’s ask, what does this have to do with living in a blue state, and how would this save anybody’s life? Well, everything. First of all, let’s look at the ACA in King v Burwell, whereby it was proclaimed by the Supreme Court (for the second time) that the ACA is now the law of the land. Let’s take into consideration that the majority of US states stood to have lost healthcare subsides had the Court stuck the ACA’s provisions down. This means if you depended on these subsides, but lived in a state with only a federal exchange, you were basically out of luck and out of health. Thankfully, this didn’t happen.
But for argument’s sake, take a look at this pic:
This is a map of the US’s voting patterns in the last presidential election, by state.
Now take a look at this:
This is a map of which US states would have been affected had the Supreme Court struck down Obamacare. Only the states in grey would have been spared from tens of thousands to millions of people losing their healthcare at the stroke of a pen. Now keep in mind that there are a few blue states that would have lost subsides, like Maine, and that there are a few red states that wouldn’t have, like Kentucky. But in general, the correlation between a state being red and having no state exchange is staggering. Most of the states that had stood to be affected were located in Flyover Country, or what I like to call The Ferguson Belt…basically the string of consistently red states characterised by endless police brutality cases against unarmed black teens, stand your ground laws, smug Republican governors who think they know everything, fracking nightmares, and a generally poor, uneducated populace.
And now for the interesting part, had the Supreme Court ruled against the ACA, and you lived in a blue state such as California, and you depended on the subsides provided by the ACA… you would have been okay. You would have been far more likely to lose your healthcare by living in a red state. Now need I remind you that if you don’t have healthcare, you have a very good chance of dying?
This is example number one of how voting Republican will cause you not only inconvenience, it may cost you your life.