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05/17/17

The Unpredictable Trumpsters

We are in a series exploring the idea of a single payer healthcare system.  Click here to find the prior posts.

OK, so we know that many liberals long for a single payer system, a dream that goes back to FDR.  But this has so been a political non-starter that smart Democrats (not always an oxymoron) never say it directly, but secretly plot an incremental strategy.  Remember, Hillary Care (the 1990’s version when she worked for Bill, the consummate pragmatist) and ObamaCare were both viewed by antagonists and supporters alike a step toward the ultimate goal.  Was it two-steps or three to get to the single payer goal?  It didn’t matter as long as steps were to the left.  Progress for Progressives was progress.

Then along comes Donald Trump.

Many Republicans struggled to embrace Trump for many reasons, but one primary reason was the question of whether he was truly conservative.  Besides his inconsistent past, things like his position on trade gave them pause.  But he said he’d nominate conservative judges to the Supreme Court and he made peace with Paul Ryan. Together, they’d repeal and replace the ‘disaster’ of ObamaCare. Oh, and he wasn’t Hillary.  So they held their nose and voted for him.

Yet, the core of the coalition that put 1600 Pennsylvania into The Donald’s residential rotation along with Trump Tower and Mar-A-Lago is not classically conservative, either.  Those people wearing the 1990’s style red hats had not been regular attenders at Republican fund-raising dinners.  Those older, whiter, working class folks were more than a little hacked off at the Republican party.  A vote for Trump was not for the good of the GOP, but a poke in its eye because they felt abandoned.  Likewise, the Democrats that crossed over to vote for him, particularly in the critical Rust Belt states that tipped the election, were doing the very same to their party, believing it had been co-opted by the cultural elites and radical lefties on either coast who ignored their concerns. 

Brilliant political analysis, but what does this have to do with growing support for a single payer system?

The center of Trump’s faithful felt, and feel, that they are getting the short end of the economic stick.  They are falling further and further behind and their guy promised help.  Yes, it was most directly in the form of stopping the immigrants and globalists nibbling away at their financial security, but help can come in many ways.  Enter healthcare.

Working class Trumpsters, be they Democrats or Republicans, don’t like all these people getting coverage and subsidies through ObamaCare, especially if those folks are perceived as lazy free-loaders riding the Medicaid expansion. Hey, how about some of that free healthcare for those of us actually paying taxes?

In the poll we referenced in the last post, 40% of Trump supporters favor a single payer system.  Here’s one better: expand that from Trump loyalists to all Republicans and the number goes up to 46%.  Wow.

So, the public pulse is moving, and not the way the ruling party wants.  They have no one to blame but themselves, but we’ll get back to that later.

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ALN

Tim Coan, ALN’s CEO, writes an insightful and witty blog three times a week about a variety of topics relevant to independent physician practices.

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