More 'Bidenomics' Hits Rural Americans as Democrats Continue to Try and Kill Valuable Drug Program

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Bidenomics isn’t working for rural America.

The Biden administration, as well as the Democratic Party as a whole, have decided to try and force Americans to believe that the economy is still working for them, and they are trying to make the “Bidenomics” brand a positive one. It’s sort of similar to the Obama administration adopting the “Obamacare” terminology from Republicans and embracing it, trying to get Americans to believe it was actually a good thing.

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Of course, “Bidenomics” has mostly meant crippling inflation spurred by sky-high deficit spending (including the spending we saw tossed into the so-called “Inflation Reduction Act”). Under “Bidenomics,” though, there are signs that rural America has especially suffered. Here’s a new one: According to a new analysis of 11 high-income countries, the US has the highest “percentage of rural adults who skip medical care because they can’t afford it.” These are overwhelmingly GOP voters, and they are suffering economically and health-wise in Biden’s economy.

How that highest percentage breaks down, according to Axios:

About 15%, or nearly 46 million people, live in outlying areas in the U.S., and rural Americans have poorer health outcomes than their urban counterparts, in part due to access issues. More than a third of rural Americans reported skipping needed care because of costs — more than twice the rate of rural residents in six of the other countries in the analysis.

What is the Democrats’ solution to this problem? Some blue states have taken a hatchet to the 340B drug discount program, which disproportionately helps rural, working-class populations by providing access to discounted drugs and enabling providers in their areas who are on the financial brink to stay in operation (it is worth noting there’s a bipartisan effort from Reps. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) and Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.), who are pushing legislation to protect that program).

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The Axios article above notes that other countries have deployed “telehealth, increased primary care access and recruitment of health workers to underserved areas” to address rural health care challenges. But, it’s unclear how high a priority the Biden administration, or Democrats as a whole, attach to all of this– partly because they’re just not very dependent on rural voters to win elections (Spanberger is an exception).

This is not to say that if you don’t vote Democratic, no Democrat cares about you, but it is to say that there may be a problem of “out of sight, out of mind.” In the same way that few conservatives have the policy priorities of AOC-style New York City millennial Democratic Socialists of America high on their radar, a party that still registered an 8-point lag behind Donald Trump in Iowa and Ohio in 2020 just may not be thinking about this stuff.

Republicans, of course, should be. One of the reasons Trump ran up big margins Democrats did not see coming in 2016, and to a degree also in 2020, is because he paid attention to rural voters and their concerns– and they turned out to vote for him when a lot of them had previously taken a pass on voting. Yes, there are more actual votes in big cities and suburban areas, but politicians shouldn’t ignore rural, working-class voters.

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Or do a worse job than the United Kingdom, which has a famously dysfunctional (and even disastrous) health care system.

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