Dems interested in winning southern votes should take note of Tom Baxter’s article in the Southern Political Report, “For an overweight, underinsured South, the health care debate matters.” Baxter links to Kaiser Family Foundation statistics indicating that the south is the region most damaged by the lack of a responsive health care system, and adds:
…The South is the epicenter of the nation’s health care problems, with the highest rates of chronic ailments like diabetes and heart disease, the most uninsured and the highest percentage of state populations on Medicaid. A good deal of polling also indicates voters here care deeply about the issue.
What makes health care such a cutting edge issue for southern Democrats, Baxter suggests, is the thinness of GOP candidates’ health care ‘reform’ ideas. Baxter quotes Jonathan Oberlander, associate professor of social medicine and health policy and administration at UNC-Chapel Hill. “If you looked at the health care plans on the Republican side, you really wouldn’t have much to write about.”
Baxter doesn’t present polling data to bolster the case, but it nonetheless looks like a promising issue for Dems wanting to make inroads among southern voters.