A recent study from Sweden indicates that in the first few years since it was enacted, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is reversing a general decline in trust — one that has taken place over the past five decades. The research was conducted by the Swedish Universities Umeå and Lund
The research study indicates a fact about the healthcare issue and the ACA that could explain why the GOP and now Trump have been determined from the start to kill and or sabotage it at all costs: Obamacare might be key to reversing the trend of declining social trust that has plagued the United States since the 1970s.
“Before 2010, worsening health in the U.S. led to a decrease in people’s generalized trust. Coinciding with the introduction of Obamacare in 2010, this negative relationship no longer holds true,” says Jan Mewes, associate professor at the Department of Sociology at Umeå University in Northern Sweden.
Generalized trust is defined as the belief that most people, even strangers, can be trusted. Past research shows that societies with higher levels of generalized trust also have better functioning democracies, with less corruption and less crime. Over the past five decades, the U.S. has undergone a steady decline in generalized trust. [Added emphasis]
The Swedish study concluded just about at the time the GOP completed the takeover of Congress and Trump became President and they note: it will be interesting to see if the ACA will be retained in its current form […] Will it last, or will US citizens eventually ‘revert to form’, where poor health coincides with a lack of trust in others once again?
While something dynamic has been driving the GOP and president Trump to kill and/or sabotage ACA, their actions may prove self-destructive. A recent Kaiser poll found a solid majority of respondents, 66%, thought lawmakers should work to stabilize ACA markets rather than repeal the law. The breakdown by party showed strong support among Independents (67%), 85% support among Democrats, and even a sizable minority of 43% support with the GOP.
Ronald Reagan pretty much summed up his philosophy when he quipped that the nine most threatening words in the English language are: “I’m from the Government, and I’m here to help.” Any success for the ACA, a government program, carries an existential threat to that longtime GOP mindset.
And it sure looks like an increase in generalized trust and a better functioning democracy with less corruption would make life a little harder for President Trump and his scheming administration.