Monday, June 20, 2022

Republicans Want to Kill You department


Age-adjusted morality rates over five presidential terms show rates declining twice as fast in counties that vote Democratic. Via British Medical Journal.

Per Kaiser Health News:

study published June 7 by the BMJ examined mortality rates and voting patterns in the past five presidential elections, and found that people who lived in jurisdictions that consistently voted Democratic fared better than those that voted Republican.

“We all aspire to live in and exist in a sort of system where politics and health don’t intersect,” said Dr. Haider Warraich, the study’s lead author. “But what this paper actually shows is that politics and health, especially in the United States, are deeply intertwined.”

The patterns held broadly across age, sex, rural vs. urban residence, and race/ethnicity, except that there's very little gap among Latinos/Hispanics (who had the overall lowest mortality rates), and the gap is largest among white people, particularly white people in rural areas:

The death rate of white residents in Democratic counties, according to the study, dropped by 15% from 2001 to 2019. Meanwhile, white residents in Republican counties saw just a 3% dip. Rural Republican counties experienced the highest age-adjusted mortality rates and the least improvement.

It looks like you can really ascribe this to policy differences between Democratic and Republican state governments: "liberal" state policies on things such as tobacco, labor relations, immigration, civil rights, and protection of the environment go with higher life expectancy; "conservative" state policies on abortion or gun rights contribute to lower life expectancy among women in particular. Poverty and low educational levels in Red counties (associated with government stinginess and regressive tax policies) are reflected in slower declines in cancer and heart disease deaths, and in accidental deaths and suicides.

The acceleration of the pattern after 2009 is associated with the increased access to health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, which went far more smoothly and effectively under Democratic governments than Republican ones; especially the Medicaid expansion, which so many Republican governors and legislatures rejected altogether (12 states still haven't done it).

And of course the period of the study ends before the COVID-19 pandemic begins. Data on that has begun to emerge too, as with this study aired a couple of weeks ago on NPR:

You can see the whole history encapsulated in there, from the way the pandemic started out in heavily urban (and therefore Democratic) areas as it arrived by airplanes from Europe on the East Coast and Asia in the West before spreading by land to rural (and therefore more Republican) areas in the South and the Plains; how the availability of vaccines had an immediate beneficial effect in Democratic counties while death rates in Republican counties with somewhat lower vaccination rates and furious rejection of masking and social distancing requirements continued to expand, and how it was only the prevalence of the less lethal Omicron variant that allowed the gap to begin narrowing. Another study, from the University of Minnesota, found that

"It appears that voting behavior acts as a proxy for compliance with and support for public health measures, vaccine uptake, and the likelihood of engaging in riskier behaviors (for example, unmasked social events and in-person dining) that could affect disease spread and mortality".

Governor Ron DeSantis explicitly trying to kill Florida students, through public humiliation, as reported on NBC.

It's not new—Dana Milbank was reporting it in March—

Using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, consultant Doug Haddix Sunday that since July 1 (when the lifesaving vaccine was widely available), the 14 states with the highest death rates were all run by Republican governors. This included Florida (at about 153 deaths per 100,000 residents), Ohio (142 deaths per 100,000), Arizona (138) and Georgia (134). Contrast that with the deep-blue District of Columbia (only 27 deaths per 100,000) and California (58 per 100,000)....

The states with the lowest death rates, by contrast, were all run by Democrats — or, in the case of Vermont, Maryland and Massachusetts, by moderate Republican governors who had heavily Democratic legislatures and embraced vaccines and masks. The best jurisdictions were D.C., Vermont, Hawaii and California. Looking at data from the period since May 1 (by which time all U.S. adults theoretically could have been vaccinated) produced similar results.

Florida residents were, since vaccines have been widely available, nearly seven times as likely to die from covid-19 as residents of D.C., nearly three times as likely to die as residents of California and 2½ times as likely to die as residents of New York. With Florida’s population of about 22 million, that’s a lot of unnecessary deaths.

It's just getting clearer and clearer—Republicans are killing everyone they can, starting with their own voters, and it's harder and harder to avoid concluding they're doing it on purpose, if only to assert some theoretical point and then claim, falsely, that they've proved it. 

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