Tuesday, November 22, 2016

ObamaCare's Supposed Beneficiaries Turned Out For Trump

By Michael F. Cannon.
"Recent economic research calls into question the value of ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion, and indeed the entire Medicaid program. In one study, MIT health economist Amy Finkelstein and her colleagues found that Medicaid produced no discernible improvement in enrollees’ measured physical health outcomes. In another, Finkelstein and colleagues estimated enrollees receive only 20-40 cents of benefit for every dollar the program spends.


Researchers at The Economist went looking for factors to explain why Donald Trump outperformed Mitt Romney’s showing in key states four years prior. They found ”the single best predictor identified so far of the change from 2012 to 2016 in the share of each county’s eligible voters that voted Republican” is how low the county scores on an index of public health measures. The worse a county performed on life expectancy, obesity, diabetes, heavy drinking, and physical activity, the greater the swing toward Trump. The Economist explains:
Polling data suggests that on the whole, Mr. Trump’s supporters are not particularly down on their luck: within any given level of educational attainment, higher-income respondents are more likely to vote Republican. But what the geographic numbers do show is that the specific subset of Mr. Trump’s voters that won him the election—those in counties where he outperformed Mr. Romney by large margins—live in communities that are literally dying.
The accompanying graph shows the negative relationship between these health measures and Trump’s gains, or (equivalently) the positive relationship between poor health and Trump’s gains.

United States, health metrics against swing to Donald Trump, by county.  Source: The Economist, http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21710265-local-health-outcomes-predict-trumpward-swings-illness-indicator
United States, health metrics against swing to Donald Trump, by county. (Source: The Economist)

The implications are remarkable. ObamaCare’s main selling point is that it guarantees access to health insurance for people with preexisting conditions — like diabetes and other illnesses associated with obesity, heavy drinking, and a lack of physical activity.

After nearly two years of experience with ObamaCare, areas of the country that supposedly stand to gain the most swung toward the candidate who promised to repeal it. The more they stood to benefit, the bigger the swing. Many of ObamaCare’s supposed beneficiaries don’t appear to value the law all that much."

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