In Trump Country, The Poor Go Without Basic Medical Care

In Appalachia, a region of the country that covers the states of Tennessee, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio, the poor have learned to live without basic health care. (Photo Credit: Darron Birgenheier)

In Appalachia, a region of the country that covers the states of Tennessee, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio, the poor have learned to live without basic health care according to the Associated Press. Many in this region voted for Donald Trump out of the hope that he would improve their lives for the better, however, those who were interviewed continue to face the same basic subsistence issues that have affected them for years.

People in central Appalachia are 41 percent more likely to get diabetes and 42 percent more likely to die of heart disease than the rest of the nation, according to a study released in August by the Appalachian Regional Commission and other groups. The study also found that the region’s supply of specialty doctors per 100,000 people is 65 percent lower than in the rest of the nation. And people from southwestern Virginia die on average 10 years sooner than those from wealthier counties close to Washington, said August Wallmeyer, an author who lobbies the Virginia legislature on health issues.

Many of the issues affecting Appalachians are due to American inequities in health care exacerbated by partisan politics. For instance, some states still have not expanded Medicaid, which is driving a lot of unnecessary suffering in the region.

Some of those interviewed in the A.P. piece voted for President Donald Trump, who campaigned on stripping health care from Americans. Some appeared to have voted for the President because he promised to change the status quo in Washington, which in their opinion, had long forgotten about their plight.

Kantsos voted for Donald Trump last fall in the hope that he could shake up Washington. She said the president needs to concentrate more on his job and less on Twitter. Sutherland supported Trump, too, and said he thinks the president deserves more time. But Sutherland, who comes to the clinic for dental work and medicine, wishes lawmakers understood how hard life can be in Appalachia. Last year, he said, he walked 30 miles (50 kilometers) to the Wise clinic because he had no car; it took more than seven hours. Others have it bad, too.

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