A new president, a new Congress and old political grudges mean the nation is in for another seismic shift in how it cares for its citizens, seven years after the last major upheaval. And as divided as Washington, D.C., is over the ideal approach to better healthcare, there are equally diverse perspectives across the United States.
Just ask Paul Gordon, MD.
For just over three months, Gordon, a primary care physician and professor at the University of Arizona’s College of Medicine in Tucson, rode a bike from Washington, D.C., to Seattle, canvassing the nation’s rural communities on an Obamacare “listening tour.” He logged more than 3,200 miles and engaged in over 100 conversations during his travels.
And what he heard provides additional insight into the outcome of last November’s election.
“What I heard most was anger … fueled by misinformation,” Gordon told Medical Economics. The physician said he frequently heard “repeated sound bites” from political ads and news coverage about how bad the law was as well as the president who enacted it.
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One woman in the mid-Atlantic region, unaware of the law’s actual name, told him, “Perhaps if the law wasn’t named ‘Obamacare,’ it would be better received.” Others voiced their frustration about having to pay for others’ insurance through subsidies, painting them as lazy or undeserving of assistance.
But rather than correct or expand on the nuances of how public and private insurance works, Gordon simply listened to what average Americans had to say about healthcare in their country. He also spoke to those thankful for the law, who were either receiving a subsidy for their coverage or able to get coverage despite a pre-existing condition.