Rebecca Halperin, MD
Data has recently been released that shows how residents of Republican-majority states have shorter life expectancies. These states have fewer people covered by health insurance, fewer regulations on industries that pollute toxins, increased morbidity and mortality, rejection of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regulations, weakened or dismantled public health services (with uninformed or misinformed legislators making health recommendations/rulings rather than experts in the field – which I find horrifying), weakened helmet laws, no more guns with weaker and less enforced laws, etc. the most lax or non-existent application of protections.
Of course, people want the freedom to determine their own behaviors. But the actions of others greatly affect everyone, not just themselves. The dead, sick, maimed and disabled cost the state government dearly. Lack of productivity, funds for people with disabilities, caring for children who are orphans or whose parents are disabled, the cost of air and water pollution mitigation, cancer coverage and resulting lung diseases, etc.
There is also a moral and emotional toll which I believe is more important than the financial loss. We are affected by non-existent or weakly enforced laws associated with seat belts, helmets, guns, pollution, lack of health care, pandemic diseases, rural hospital closures and the closure health clinics.
However, in these same states, the government is interfering in very personal healthcare decisions between doctors and their patients. There are rumors that other privacy rights are also under threat with regards to contraception, interracial marriage, and LGBTQ rights. I don’t want politicians in my doctors’ offices or in my bedroom. Or anyone else. These intrusions into our privacy further diminish the health and well-being of our population. Political decisions that minimize the safety of our people dramatically diminish the health and well-being of our state.
Which leads to another question. Why are our Republican leaders pushing through legislation that most Americans don’t want? For example, abortion rights which are generally popular (61% of all Americans support legal abortions in all or most cases, while 37% of all Americans think abortion should be illegal in all or most cases). abortion is the same as pro-life. The true pro-life position is not just about the birth of babies, but about feeding, clothing, education, providing health care and nurturing the life that has been born. I see the opposite happening with policies that are pushed as pro-life, rather than anti-abortion.
And common sense gun safety is also popular. The vast majority of Americans support universal background checks. Studies show that more than 60% of Americans, including gun owners, support banning assault weapons and 74% support raising the legal age to 21 to buy anything. what weapon. There are far too many guns on the streets. Basic background checks, red flag laws, older age to buy automatic weapons, licenses and even insurance are infinitely reasonable. Driving a car requires an appropriate age, license and liability insurance. These safety measures would not prevent responsible gun owners from having firearms, but could decrease the number of mass shootings, homicides and suicides. Our Republican legislators are making a lot of decisions that are not what most of us want or in our individual or collective best interests.
Your health odds are better with Democratic state legislatures.
Rebecca Halperin, MD