The political dynamic may sound familiar: a popular and successful Democratic chief executive was leaving office after two terms, and the race to replace him pitted an experienced and qualified Democratic official against an incompetent far-right Republican running for public office for the first time.The GOP nominee wasn't respected, or even liked, by his party's leaders, and he developed a reputation for telling bizarre lies and making ridiculous promises, but he won the election anyway.I'm referring, of course, to Kentucky's 2015 gubernatorial race, which inexplicably elevated Gov. Matt Bevin (R) to statewide office.Bevin based much of his platform on his opposition to health care reform, vowing to reverse much of Kentucky's recent progress. As regular readers may recall
, many voters who supported the Republican were surprised and disappointed when the governor took office and moved forward with plans to take families' benefits away -- just as he'd promised to do as a candidate."[I]t doesn't look to me as if [Bevin] understands," one middle-aged Kentucky man said after the election
, struggling with the consequences of his own vote. "Without this little bit of help these people are giving me, I could probably die." It's a problem that apparently didn't occur to him until after he helped elect the far-right candidate.It's striking to see history repeat itself
Dalia Carmeli, who drives a trolley in downtown Miami, voted for Donald J. Trump on Election Day. A week later, she stopped in to see the enrollment counselor who will help her sign up for another year of health insurance under the Affordable Care Act."I hope it still stays the same," said Ms. Carmeli, 64, who has Crohn's disease and relies on her insurance to cover frequent doctor's appointments and an array of medications.
As the results from the presidential election came into focus, it was tempting to think many of the millions of ACA beneficiaries simply didn't show up when it counted, but that's not quite right. Many of them of did vote -- for the candidate who promised to eliminate their health security.The New York Times' report
More vulnerable are people like Gerardo Murillo Lovo, 44, a construction worker who never had health insurance before signing up for a marketplace plan in 2014. He pays $15 a month and gets a subsidy of $590 for a plan that covers his wife, as well. When he renewed his coverage last week at the Epilepsy Foundation, he learned that the price would not increase next year."I've heard that what he wanted to do first is get rid of Obamacare," Mr. Murillo, a Nicaraguan immigrant who is a citizen but did not vote, said of Mr. Trump. "But my personal opinion is that he will discuss it with other people who will convince him that we can't get rid of this."
This man's personal opinion notwithstanding, Trump and his team are eager to "get rid" of this.Perhaps my favorite example emerged soon after the election, when the New York Times spoke to
Patricia Meadows, a retired waitress, who voted for President Obama in 2012, but backed Trump this year because he wasn't "political."
"I think everybody in Washington needs a kick in the rear," Ms. Meadows, 68, said on Thursday as she ate fried fish at a diner in Warren, a weathered city at the county's southern end. "And I think Washington needs to be done with the Clintons."She added, however, that she hoped Mr. Trump would not "do away with the health care" -- Mr. Obama's Affordable Care Act -- as he had promised on the campaign trail. Her daughter had obtained subsidized insurance coverage through the law for $50 a month."I think he was bluffing," Ms. Meadows said with a frown.
Earlier this year in Kentucky, many residents were surprised to learn just how eager their new governor was to take away health care benefits. Early next year, much of the United States will probably have a similar feeling about their new president.