The revelation that the proposed GOP healthcare bill could lead to as many as 26 million newly uninsured Americans will likely come as a surprise to many Trump voters. The depth of the misunderstanding came to light during a town-hall style discussion with Vermont senator and former Democratic presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders. Chris Hayes from MSNBC hosted the televised event that was held on Monday.
During the discussion, Sanders answered questions about topics like healthcare and climate change and other issues affecting the people living in West Virginia where the town hall event took place. After speaking with Sanders, Hayes interviewed a local man identified only as “Phillip”. It was during this interview that the disconnect came to light between the understanding of the average voter about what candidate Trump promised and what President Trump would actually have the power to deliver.
The local man discussed his recent period of unemployment and his new job as a coal miner. He stated how thankful he is to have the opportunity because there are few other forms of employment in his area. The issue of jobs was much more relevant to Phillip during the Sanders discussion because it is a topic he understands. Concerns like climate change were unappreciated by the man because the details were too complex. Phillip stated that the only issue that mattered to him was what would provide him with a way to make a living and this was why he would defend mining rather than worry over the climate.
The most poignant part of the interview came when Phillip was asked about Trump’s promises and if they would be kept. Phillip remarked that Trump made promises to the people of the state of West Virginia about keeping coal mines in operation and providing the residents with the health care they need. Something Phillip believed would be free.
When Hayes pressed him on the issue of free health care, Phillip responded quickly, stating, “Because I’m a West Virginian, I’m proud to be a West Virginian, and [I voted for Trump] only solely because he said he was going to help us, he was going to put the coal miners back to work, and we’re going to have healthcare and this and that…Everybody in this room needs free healthcare.”
President Trump did repeatedly discuss his desire to create a plan that would offer accessible health care during his campaign. The confusion of some of Trump’s voters between “accessible” and “free” could lead to a lot of disappointment in locations like West Virginia, where poverty and the lack of opportunities make even accessible health insurance unattainable.