Kentucky: Am I actually supposed to sympathize with Dennis Blackburn???
Over at the Washington Post, Amy Goldstein has a pretty good story about the Real People who are benefitting from the ACA in Kentucky...and those among them who voted for Republican Matt Bevin anyway:
Dennis Blackburn has this splintered self-interest. The 56-year-old mechanic hasn’t worked since he lost his job 18 months ago at a tire company that supplies a diminishing number of local coal mines. “The old guy had to go home,” Blackburn says of his layoff.
He has a hereditary liver disorder, numbness in his hands and legs, back pain from folding his 6-foot-1-inch frame into 29-inch mine shafts as a young man, plus an extra heartbeat — the likely vestige of having been struck by lightning 15 years ago in his tin-roofed farmhouse.
Blackburn was making small payments on an MRI he’d gotten at Pikeville Medical Center, the only hospital in a 150-mile radius, when he heard about Big Sandy’s Shelby Valley Clinic. There he met Fleming, who helped him sign up for one of the managed-care Medicaid plans available in Kentucky.
On Election Day, Blackburn voted for Bevin because he is tired of career politicians and thought a businessman would be more apt to create the jobs that Pike County so needs. Yet when it comes to the state’s expansion of health insurance, “it doesn’t look to me as if he understands,” Blackburn said two days later. “Without this little bit of help these people are giving me, I could probably die. . . . It’s not right to not understand something but want to stamp it out.”
Regular readers will recall the tongue-lashing I gave a South Carolina guy named Luis Lang last spring when it appeared that he was being an abject hypocrite about the Affordable Care Act. When the story developed further, it turned out that the actual story was a lot more complicated; Mr. Lang has since become a full-on Democrat and advocate for not just expanding and improving the ACA, but for single-payer healthcare in general.
With that in mind, I'm reluctant to be too quick to pounce all over Mr. Blackburn of Kentucky...but unless there's some major omissions in the passage above, it seems pretty cut and dry to me.
Matt Bevin didn't just include generic "Obamacare suxx!!" boilerplate as part of his campaign rhetoric; he made repealing Medicaid expansion (and shutting down the kynect ACA exchange) a major part of his campaign for Governor. EVERYONE in Kentucky knew this (or damned well should have known it). Yet, Mr. Blackburn voted for the guy who had explicitly promised to take away his healthcare coverage...and now he's confused and scared that Bevin might, you know, actually do what he said he was going to do.
To clarify: I'm fully aware that when it comes to choosing a candidate to vote for, you have to pick and choose your issues. People vote for candidates whose views don't line up with their interests 100% all the time. However, in this case, the guy openly admits that he chose the candidate who will probably kill him because he might have a better chance of "getting a job" by doing so. A job which he won't be in a position to work at if he's, you know, dead.
Seriously, how the hell am I supposed to respond to this guy?