Here’s what Reich says about an Obamacare repeal:
- 32 million people will lose coverage, [23M-24M if replaced with Senate or House versions, per CBO]
- Tens of thousands of American’s will die as a result (over 50 times as many as killed by terrorists),
- Medicare and Medicaid will be left in worse shape, and
- The rich will get richer in a massive redistribution of wealth.
Missing from this list, and discussed after the video, is what appears to be racist resentment of having a black President in the White House, no matter how qualified. Repeal is also pragmatic, because it helps Republicans contain a demographic shift works against them and maintain control of Congress, the Presidency and the Supreme Court.
Baby Boomers and The Aging Population
Robert Reich failed to mention the aging population. 76M boomers were born after WW-II, between 1946 and 1964, and America wasn’t prepared for that growth. Neither were other nations. There weren’t enough hospitals, pediatricians, schoolteachers, textbooks, playgrounds, or even bedrooms in our homes. Now, as 11,000 more baby boomers turn age 65 every day, retire, and go on Social Security and Medicare, the ability to pay for public assistance becomes more difficult. By 2029, more than 20% of the US population will be over 65 (US Census). That 1-in-5 number is up from 1-in-7 today; and by 2035, 1-in-3 US households will be headed by someone 65 or over.
That’s because people are living longer (78 years in 2010 versus 63.5 years in 1940). But we’re also less active and have higher rates of chronic disease and disability. Almost 39% of boomers are obese, compared to about 29% in the previous generation, and 40% of them are low-income (below 150% of poverty level), meaning they’ll need more public assistance.
The age 85+ population needing the most medical care will grow the fastest over the next few decades, equaling 4% of population by 2050, or 10 times its 1950 share (US Census) 1.9M Americans are already 90+, an in 2010, people 90+ had a median income of just $14,760, about half of it from Social Security. This is a worldwide phenomenon thanks largely to longer average longevity. The United Nations says that by 2050, the older generation will be larger than the under-15 population.
Republicans echo these statistics to justify cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and Obamacare. But instead of gutting these programs, then need to be strengthened, and funded with more progressive tax policies. Of course, the rich white men in suits don’t want that, even though they benefit from the widest wealth inequality in history.
So Republican politicians face a dilemma. Even though there’s a conservative ideological shift under the Trump administration, boomers who had no voice as infants and children now do. They’re politically active and represent a substantial voting bloc.
Inconvenient Demographic Shifts
Reich also failed to discuss another demographic shift that threatens majority control of the white Christians who predominantly vote Republican. It’s not only possible but very likely that these shifts drive Republican obsession with repealing Obamacare. Their problem is that the poor, minorities, immigrants, and college-educated youth and elderly predominantly tend to vote for Democrats. It’s no wonder that the GOP has used all the dirty tricks they can to keep political control.
Gerrymandering is another way to steal elections by creatively drawing voting districts o win more seats than otherwise suggested by population demographics.
Voter Intimidation comes in many forms, such as hiring thugs as “poll watchers” at polling places or making imposing threats like, “Voter Fraud is a Crime, and Punishment includes Deportation.” Even presidential candidate Trump used voter intimidation tactics in his unsubstantiated claims of massive voter fraud, calling on his supporters to keep an eye on the polls.
Voter Suppression occurs through other means too, including those described in Politics and the Killing Fields. Even before Republicans deny healthcare to tens millions of people, and up to 20% of them die as a result, public health officials saw alarming differences in average lifespan between poor and affluent neighborhoods. According to the HBO documentary, The Weight of the Nation, those differences are due to inferior access to healthcare, nutritious food, safe places to play & exercise, and competitive education & employment opportunities, as well as light & sound solution, environmental contamination, and gun violence. Republicans have historically opposed proposals to improve those issues, knowing full-well their impact, and that’s why I have no choice but to describe their behavior as a form of political genocide, as disgusting as that may sound.