As rich Republican politicians (and poor constituents who buy into propaganda like this super-creepy video) continue to fight the Affordable Care Act tooth and nail, the lowest earners in America continue to die up to a decade earlier than their wealthy counterparts.
The latest numbers show that the nation’s life-span gap is growing — especially for white women. A Caucasian female with at least a college degree can expect to live 83.9 years, while a white woman who never finished high school will live just 73.5 years, on average.
While many factors contribute to this gap — like unhealthy diets, smoking habits and living next to smoggy highways — lack of health insurance is one glowering monster of a reason for premature death. People without insurance are less likely to seek care until an emergency hits, and by then it’s often too late. Preventative medicine? Not going to happen if you can’t afford a doctor visit.
But according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Medicaid expansion that comes with Obamacare may cover 21.5 million low-income, uninsured Americans (and that’s not even counting the elderly). According to the Foundation, half of Obamacare’s target demographic consists of people earning just 50 percent or less of the federal poverty level, who have “substantial health needs and face barriers to health care.”
So with all of the whining about the horrors of Obama’s plan — not to mention the millions of dollars spent on frightening ads discouraging people from participating — the new health-care law just might help the poorest sector of the country live longer, healthier lives. And if the opposition succeeds? Back to the status quo, for those who live long enough to see it.