GOP Health Reform Tactic: Rich Vs. Poor


By digging in their heels and turning the health care battle into an all-out attack on Obama, the Republicans are engaging in a classic class war that pits the rich against the poor. In case you missed it, an NPR report illustrates the point:

[O]f the 100 congressional districts with the highest uninsured rates, 53 are represented either by Republican lawmakers—who are fighting the Obama administration’s attempt to overhaul the health care system—or by Blue Dog Democrats — conservative Democrats who have slowed down and diluted the overhaul proposals…

New data from the U.S. Census Bureau show that 17 percent of Americans under age 65 now go without health insurance. It’s a basic truth of political analysis that low-income residents—that is, those most likely to be uninsured—are less likely than middle-class people to attend town meetings and less likely to vote. To state the obvious, the poor are also less likely to make campaign contributions. Meanwhile, health care corporations and professional organizations have actively engaged the Blue Dogs. So far this year, the Blue Dogs’ political action committee has received $301,500 from health care and health insurance PACs.

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  • James Ridgeway is a former senior correspondent at Mother Jones and a 2012 Soros Justice Media Fellow. For more of his stories, click here.