Kentucky town reveals the lack of logic in health insurance debate

You’ll have to work hard to find any significant logic in the interviews Vox’s Sarah Kliff did with residents in Kentucky, who apparently voted for Donald Trump because they didn’t think he and the Republicans would really take away their health insurance.

He was, you may recall, the candidate promising to repeal Obamacare.

Democrats weren’t much interested in defending the health care law during the campaign and Kliff’s interviews reveal why. In 2016, down is up and up is down. And the voters were willing to play “chicken” on the issue.

Kathy Oller, in Corbin, KY., is one of those who voted for the president-elect.

“We all need it,” Oller told Kliff when she asked about the fact Trump and congressional Republicans had promised Obamacare repeal. “You can’t get rid of it.”

But she voted for Trump anyway because….

“I found with Trump, he says a lot of stuff,” she said. “I just think all politicians promise you everything and then we’ll see. It’s like when you get married — ‘Oh, honey, I won’t do this, oh, honey, I won’t do that.’”

Oller’s job? She signs people up for health care coverage.

Ruby Atkins, 59, brought up valid points. She can’t afford the $244 monthly premium and her $6,000 deductible is too high. She says her old insurance didn’t have a deductible and the co-pays were only $5.

But her new insurance provides free preventive care, which Atkins won’t use, Vox says.

But she skips mammograms and colonoscopies because she doesn’t think she’d have the money to pay for any follow-up care if the doctors did detect something.

Atkins says she only buys insurance as financial protection — “to keep from losing my house if something major happened,” she says. “But I’m not using it to go to the doctor. I’ve not used anything.”

The idea of preventive care, of course, is to prevent problems before they become the problems that can make you lose a house over medical expenses.

Atkins also says poor people get better coverage than she does.

“They can go to the emergency room for a headache,” she says. “They’re going to the doctor for pills, and that’s what they’re on.”

“They had a Christmas program. Some of the area programs would talk to teachers, and ask for a list of their poorest kids and get them clothes and toys and stuff. They’re not the ones who need help. They’re the ones getting the welfare and food stamps. I’m the one who is the working poor.”

“I really think Medicaid is good, but I’m really having a problem with the people that don’t want to work,” she said. “Us middle-class people are really, really upset about having to work constantly, and then these people are not responsible.”

Like Atkins? She was on Medicaid and wasn’t working. Her husband has cancer and was getting chemotherapy. Is she one of “those people”?

“Oh, no,” she said quickly. “I worked my whole life, so I know I paid into it. I just felt like it was a time that I needed it. That’s what the system is set up for.”

Kliff says all but one of the people she talked to knew the health care coverage they wanted was part of Obamacare, and they voted for Trump anyway.

“I guess I thought that, you know, he would not do this, he would not take health insurance away knowing it would affect so many peoples lives,” says Debbie Mills, an Obamacare enrollee who supported Trump. “I mean, what are you to do then if you cannot pay for insurance?”

She says the law made insurance affordable, especially with her husband on a waiting list for a new liver.

Kliff’s conversation with her revealed the state of the American electorate: Voters simply don’t believe what a candidate says.

Are you surprised how much Republicans are talking about repeal?


Did you expect — do you think they’ll do it, or do you think it’ll be too hard?

I’m hoping that they don’t, ’cause, I mean, what would they do then? Would this go away?

Yes, possibly.

The insurance?

It will go, if they repeal it. I mean, that’s what they promised to do in so many elections.

Right … so … I don’t know. …

Republicans spent six years campaigning on dismantling the law. How could people not believe they would?

“We used the same logic that Mills did,” Kliff says. “We thought, of course you can’t take away a program that millions of Americans rely on.”

Up to 52 million non-elderly Americans could lose access to health care when Obamacare is repealed, Kaiser Health reported yesterday.

The same foundation issued a poll earlier this month showing only 1 in 4 people wants the law fully repealed.

And 42 percent of those who want the law repealed, want Republicans to have a replacement in place first.

That’s not how it’s going to work, apparently. The Associated Press reports the repeal votes could come next month and a replacement might not be in place for up to three years, if at all.