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Poor whites are being conned out of health care

Melvin B. Miller
Poor whites are being conned out of health care
“Well if the rich kill the Affordable Care Act, they’ll leave us with nuthin’.”

The Republicans now threaten to eliminate the Affordable Care Act. This is contrary to what Trump has promised, but it is certainly what conservatives would want. However, the availability of health insurance under the ACA induced many to ignore that this boon came from Barack Obama. Republican Senators facing reelection in 2020 are concerned about being identified as the politician who killed their health insurance.

Will that issue be enough to erode Trump’s base? This raises the issue of why the poor vote against their interests. The media have induced Americans to think that poverty is an infirmity of African Americans. However, there are actually twice as many poor whites than poor blacks in the U.S.

The fiery Sen. John C. Calhoun from South Carolina, one of the vigorous supporters of the Confederacy in the Civil War, established the status of poor whites in a Senate speech on Aug. 12, 1849. “With us the two great divisions of society are not the rich and the poor, but white and black, and all the former, the poor as well as the rich, belong to the upper class, and are respected and treated as equals.”

Many poor whites, especially in the South, have relied on this brotherhood for respect and status. There has been an apparent fear to become members of the same human class as African Americans. Some poor whites accept political abuse from the well-to-do whites out of a profound fear of rejection, according to some analysts.

It will be interesting to note whether the con of white brotherhood and superiority will be sufficient to sustain conservative efforts to eliminate health care benefits for the poor.

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