Welcome back to the Data for Progress newsletter, your update on our research, blog posts, and memes.
Memo: The Case for Nationalizing Rural Hospitals
While the healthcare debate has mostly focused on how to reach universal insurance coverage, the actual provision of healthcare — which insurance reform alone cannot solve — has received little attention.
Since 2013, 103 rural hospitals have closed, and almost thirty million Americans live more than an hour from the nearest trauma center. In a new memo ([link removed]) , we make the case for nationalizing rural hospitals. We begin with an explanation of hospital finance and why rural hospitals are extremely sensitive to shocks, like an increase in opioid overdoses or a particularly tough flu season. Then, we argue that the federal government should fund and manage a network of rural hospitals — either by nationalizing the existing infrastructure or by establishing new institutions — to ensure that rural patients receive reliable care regardless of profitability.
The good news is, the American people support these efforts. In a survey, 50 percent of voters supported a proposal to spend $30 billion per year to create publicly owned and managed urgent care facilities that are free to use. 33 percent opposed.
Americans also support rescuing existing hospitals, with 48 percent in favor of creating a $20 billion emergency trust fund to help states and local governments purchase hospitals that are in financial distress. 34 percent opposed.
America’s Workers Have It Even Worse than They Think
In an illuminating new blog post ([link removed]) , Kevin Reuning and C.M. Lewis showed that many Americans don’t realize how atrocious workers rights are in the U.S.
The vast majority of Americans said they thought firing a worker for being gay and promoting workers for their support of a political candidate are “illegal.” However, both of these are allowed under certain circumstances. For instance, although firing workers for their sexuality is illegal in some states and jurisdictions, this is not true federally (although a Supreme Court case is pending).
We also found that the progressive workers rights agenda is highly popular overall. 60 percent of voters agreed that “workers need strong unions to protect their interests.” Perhaps even more surprisingly, a majority of Democrats, independents, and Republicans agreed that “workers need government regulations to protect their interests.”
Data For Progress Achieved Excellent Targeting in the 2019 Fuck Gerrymandering Program
For our Fuck Gerrymandering project, we targeted 18 Virginia legislature races to help elect progressive Democrats to the Virginia General Assembly. Our analysis ([link removed]) found we did a fucking awesome job.
A good sign of successful targeting is if a high percentage of targeted races were actually close races — races where the margin of victory was 5 percentage points of less. Money invested in close races is obviously more impactful than money spent on landslide victories or losses.
In the end, we targeted 14 of the 16 Virginia seats that were decided by a margin of 5 points or less. The two we missed were won by Democrats. To reiterate: there was no race that Republicans won by less than five points that was not targeted by our project.
Furthermore, the 18 races we chose were significantly closer to the actual 18 closest races than if we had targeted using forecasts solely based on Trump’s 2016 margins.
Memo: Voters Support the Affordable Drug Manufacturing Act
Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Jan Schakowsky’s Affordable Drug Manufacturing Act, which would allow the government to manufacture generic versions of drugs in some circumstances, is highly popular, according to a recent DFP memo ([link removed]) .
Even when voters see a Republican argument against the policy and no Democratic argument in favor, 49 percent of voters would support a policy allowing the government to manufacture generic drugs if the price is too high, while 36 percent oppose. This rises to a 57-29 margin when a Democratic argument claiming that “this will lower the costs of prescription drugs and ensure all Americans have access to the medicine that they need” is included.
* Americans are Less Supportive of the Public Option When They Hear its Downsides: A narrative has emerged that Americans are more supportive of the public option than Medicare for All. However, this is partially because Medicare for All has faced immense scrutiny, while the public option has received relatively little. What would happen if the public option faced a similar level of attacks?
We found in a recent analysis ([link removed]) that Americans support the public option significantly less when they are informed of how it would preserve many of the negative aspects of the healthcare status quo.
While the public option polled well when respondents were told that it allows private health insurance companies to exist and doesn’t require tax hikes, these numbers declined substantially when its downsides were made clear. Support dropped to 20 percent when voters were told that the public option would leave some Americans uninsured, with 65 percent opposition.
Voters also disapproved of the public option when they were informed that it would continue to require out-of-pocket costs and continue to limit choice of doctors and hospitals — problems that would be addressed under Medicare for All.
* Voters agree: we’re making too many sequels: A majority of respondents in a recent DFP survey ([link removed]) — 59 percent — said too many movie sequels are being made, while just 5 percent wanted more.
* Can cats have salami?: Your answer to this question can help predict your political views, wealth, and age. While a plurality of Americans making $30,000 or less told us that cats could have a “little salami treat,” those making $150,000 or more were opposed ([link removed]) by a 35-21 margin.
We also found strong correlations for age ([link removed]) and ideology ([link removed]) . While a plurality of Sanders, Warren, and Buttigieg supporters were down for the feline giveaway, Biden supporters were strongly opposed.
From The Blog
America's Workers Have It Even Worse Than They Think ([link removed])
Leave No American Uninsured ([link removed])
Data for Progress Year in Review ([link removed])
Are Marvel Movies “Cinema”? Is Hollywood Making Too Many Sequels? ([link removed])
Christmas-ing while Indian: The holiday gathers us together in shared community — and trauma ([link removed]) @NBC News
Indivisible 2020 Candidate Scorecard ([link removed]) @Indivisible
Why Democrats can’t run only on protecting Obamacare ([link removed]) @Washington Post
Give us money ([link removed]) . No, seriously, give us money ([link removed]) .
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