White men need to do their part and make healthcare safe again
No other group has such power to send a message by showing up at protests, calling their elected officials and declaring their priorities publicly. Without their core constituency, Republicans will be doomed in 2018.
But now, many who voted Republican in the presidential election are regretting that decision, because, as the Washington Post reported, they simply did not take the campaign promise to gut the ACA seriously.
Yes, white women voted for Trump in large numbers as well, but, across the country, the Republican leadership primarily relies on the votes of white men. For now, this is the group that is most powerful when it steps up.
If white men raise their voices, it will be to support their wives, mothers and daughters receiving free breast cancer screenings. It will be to support an aunt who works at a clinic supported by the Medicaid expansion and who is one of the three million people who stand to be unemployed if the ACA is repealed.
It will be to ensure protection from bankruptcy for that friend from high school who got diagnosed with MS. It will be to protect African-Americans and Hispanic people from being denied insurance at higher rates because they have higher incidences of chronic disease.
Those people are their contractors, colleagues, patients and friends. They will be making it known that they do not approve of a house in their neighborhood going into foreclosure because the primary breadwinner has cancer. They will be speaking out against their children’s nanny running out of her blood pressure pills and having a heart attack because she no longer has Medicaid.
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In the years of the ACA as we know it, urgent care centers proliferated, doctors discovered life-threatening diseases in patients who hadn’t been seen in 10 years and primary care salaries went up. All of these things have some inherent good to them. Some doctors complained about the ACA insurance plans’ payment rates, but the reality was that no individual physician was forced to accept ACA insurance. Rallying for the protection of health care benefits, the physician stands to protect not only his patients, but his colleagues in primary care.
True, no one is expecting that men will change all their behaviors overnight. Some express cynicism about whether white men really want to engage at all.
Not every white Republican constituent will send Paul Ryan and Tom Price a printout of a changed party affiliation. But white men who believe in a healthier country, one where people do not die needlessly from lack of access to medical care, have a chance to make a difference. The women who marched have already done their part.