Two new studies reveal the terrible cost to red state voters of being duped by the GOP on Obamacare, minimum wage

  • 01/14/2020 12:51 pm ET Dara Brewton

Flickr / Molly Adams


Progressive policies help people, especially people in red states. But that is something Republicans don’t want their voters to know.

Keeping voters unhappy—and blaming it on the Democrats—is a long-time strategy employed by the GOP. But new studies show that progressive policies actually help keep people alive—especially key demographic groups found in red states. Yet, Republicans keep killing those efforts.

Medicaid Expansion

One example of this can be seen in the Medicaid expansion that came with the Affordable Care Act. Giving health care access to millions of low-income adults reduced the rate of opioid overdoses, according to a new study.

The study, which was conducted by JAMA Network Open, showed that those states and counties that expanded Medicaid saw a 6% reduction in their overall death rates due to opioid overdose. Expanded Medicaid led to an 11% decrease in heroin deaths and a 10% decrease in deaths from synthetic opioids like fentanyl. (Fentanyl is currently responsible for more fatal overdoses than any other drug in the U.S.)

Minimum Wage Increase

Over the years, there has been plenty of evidence that increasing the minimum wage is good for American workers and the economy. In addition to those boons, there is also new evidence that it may actually lower the suicide rate in the United States.

Vox recently reported on a new study that shows a “$1 increase in the minimum wage led to a 3.4 to 5.9 percent decline in suicides among adults with a high school education or less.”

This is only one of the studies to come out in recent years showing this trend.

Another study has shown a correlation between minimum wage increases and mortality rates at nursing homes. A doctoral student at the Goldman School of Public Policy at Berkeley, Krista Ruffini, studied 25 years’ worth of nursing home administrative records.

According to Ruffini, an increase in the minimum wage led to “fewer health code violations during inspections, fewer bedsores (technically called “pressure ulcers”), and, most importantly, a large reduction in mortality.”

Red States

Historically, the poorest states in the nation tend to also be red states. In other words, the states that could benefit the most from progressive legislation like increases in the minimum wage and Medicaid expansion. Yet, Republicans are consistently killing the legislation that would help their constituents.

The GOP keeps killing these progressive policies because they know they work. They know the policies would make things better for their constituents. But … if those red voters were to benefit from progressive policies like Obamacare and raising the minimum wage, then they would be less inclined to vote Republican in the future.

So, instead of working to help their people, the GOP would rather block progressive policy and blame the left for the state of things.

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