As Republicans work to kill Obamacare by killing the tax subsidies for people in states — almost all Republican-led or were at the time — that didn’t set up their own ACA exchanges, data shows that the town that signed up the most people for Obamacare is a “solidly Republican working-class town” in Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio’s “stomping grounds”.
Jennifer Haberkorn of Politico reported:
The unlikely epicenter of Obamacare lies in a solidly Republican working-class town just 10 miles outside of the Miami stomping grounds of Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio.
The city of Hialeah — a Cuban-American neighborhood of Spanish speakers that is blanketed with Obamacare advertisements — enrolled more people under the Affordable Care Act than anywhere in the country.
The tax subsidies issue is before the Supreme Court in King V. Burwell, and a decision is expected this month. The challenge to Obamacare is being sponsored by The Competitive Enterprise Institute. They are a Libertarians who are huge climate change skeptics — in fact, the group’s Senior Fellow once penned a letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury after he said Christians had a duty to reduce greenhouse gasses, warning that reducing emissions even a tiny bit could kill lots of people.
The city of Hialeah voted for Mitt Romney in 2012 and Marco Rubio in 2010, Haberkorn points out, further writing, “It’s a Republican stronghold in the more Democratic Miami-Dade County.”
And it’s not just this little town.
Only 13 states have their own exchanges. If the remaining states lose their subsidies, Republicans will be on the hook for taking insurance away from some 6.5 million people — ironically many of them Republicans.
If Republicans prevail with the Supreme Court challenge, Haberkorn reminds us of an Urban.Org study that pointed out the people at the most risk of losing subsidies are predominately Southern whites who make modest incomes. Your basic Republican voter.
There are only three red states with their own exchanges: Kentucky, Idaho, and Texas. Kentucky’s was set up by the Democratic governor, so it might not technically count as a “red” state in this scenario, whereas New Mexico has a Republican governor but they vote Democratic in presidential elections and they have a state exchange.
Under Obamacare, nearly 17 million have gotten insurance coverage since the fall of 2013.
Every single one of the predictions Republicans howled for years about Obamacare turned out to be untrue. People didn’t stop hiring, majority of people didn’t lose their insurance, it wasn’t all Medicaid, and private employers didn’t stop offering insurance (the opposite happened).
How will Republicans deal with the fallout and explain to their working class voters that they are taking away their insurance because they were sure Republicans would hate it? If history is any indication, Republicans will simply blame Obama for taking away tax subsidies, when in fact it is Republicans who are trying to kill the subsidies because they feel tax subsidies should go only to big oil and other big corporations who don’t want to pay taxes. They will give press conferences with earnest expressions of concern touting their as yet never proposed alternative.
Back when Republicans were issuing dire warnings that Obamacare would (literally, they claimed — remember “Death Panels”) kill people and everyone would hate it, I wrote that people would want their Obamacare when they got it. Here it is – a solidly Republican working class town has signed up the most people, in the state that houses two of the Republican 2016 front-runners.
The good news for Republicans is that Republican voters are kept in such a cult-like bubble that they might never realize why their subsidies are being taken from them, or even that they were signed up for Obamacare. Apparently Republicans believe that the only way they can keep voters is to keep them misinformed and ignorant.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah has won two Telly Awards and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.