New research suggests unpopular Conservative policies are also deadly for the people who live there
The Republican Party’s regressive policies are not only unpopular, but a new study released October 26 suggests they are also deadly for those who live under them.
Working-age death rates have been rising for decades in the United States, but premature deaths are more pronounced in states where “conservative” policies predominate and less frequent in states that have adopted more “liberal” policies. according to peer-reviewed research published in Plos One.
Policies that “extend the power of the state for economic regulation and redistribution, protect the rights of marginalized groups, or restrict the power of the state to punish deviant behavior” were defined by the authors of the study as ‘liberal’, while those with opposing aims were deemed ‘conservative’.
For eight policy areas — criminal justice, marijuana, environment, gun safety, health and welfare, private labor, economic taxes, and tobacco taxes — the authors noted state-level measures enacted from 1999 to 2019 on a continuum from 0 to 1, with zero representing the maximum conservative score and one the maximum liberal score.
Using annual data from the National Vital Statistics System, the authors calculated state-level age-adjusted mortality rates during the same period for deaths from all causes and cardiovascular disease (CVD), alcohol-induced causes, suicide, and drug poisoning among adults 25-64 years of age.
When they merged working-age mortality data with data on state political contexts, the authors found that liberal policies were associated with fewer early deaths among 25- to 64-year-olds between 1999 and 2019.
“Changing all policy areas in all states to an all-liberal orientation could have saved 171,030 lives in 2019,” the researchers estimate, “while changing them to an entirely conservative orientation would have cost 217,635 lives.”
Study co-author Dr. Steven Woolf, director emeritus of the Center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University, said in a statement: “As an academic who does scientific research, I have carefully avoided talking about politics in my professional work… But the data tells us that it is a determinant of health.
Even after controlling for state-specific environmental conditions and demographics, the authors found that states that invested more in public education and economic security had lower working-age mortality rates than states that eviscerated workers’ rights, environmental regulations and access to health care, including abortion.
“If a state politician said to me, ‘It’s unfair to criticize my state because I have a low-educated, low-income population,’ I would ask them, ‘Why do you have a low-educated, low-income population? low income ? population? said the study’s lead author, Jennifer Karas Montez, a sociology professor at Syracuse University. “It’s because of your political environment.”
Demonstrating how state political contexts influence individual behaviors associated with premature death, the researchers observed “particularly strong associations…between certain domains and specific causes of death: between the domain of gun safety and the male suicide mortality, between work domain and alcohol-induced mortality, and between economic tax and tobacco tax domains and CVD mortality.
Darrell Gaskin, health economist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said some people “like to think of (working-age mortality) as failures of individuals, whether they overeat or consume drugs, but it’s all in the context.”
“If we don’t have the proper regulations in place to protect people, then what happens is they could be taken advantage of,” Gaskin said. “We always get the promise from conservative states that we’re going to lower your taxes and your regulations and improve the environment for business, and that comes at a cost.”
With less than two weeks to go until the midterm elections, experts say it’s important for working-age Americans to know whether they’re voting for officials who support right-wing policies that increase the risk of premature death or for those who promote human interventions that can help people live longer, healthier lives.
As Woolf put it, the conservative policies associated with higher working-age mortality revolve around “helping the private sector thrive in the hope that the economic gains will trickle down to those who need more.” help,” while liberal policies associated with lower work rates focus on improving economic equity and social and environmental well-being.
With their efforts to impose anti-union “right to work” laws, ban abortions and cut Medicaid, and their insistence on ignoring gun violence and the life-threatening climate crisis, Republicans have firmly entrenched themselves in the camp that is actively increase in premature deaths among the country’s working-age population.
While there is a wide range of stances among Democrats that range from most progressive to least progressive, party lawmakers overall are much more likely than their GOP counterparts to support vital public goods and services of the type detailed in the report. study.
The analysis comes ahead of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed Americans at a significantly higher rate than people in other wealthy countries.
While the country’s deadly for-profit health care model, lack of paid sick leave and other federal policies associated with 40 years of bipartisan neoliberalism have been much blamed by progressives, studies show that the measures to State-level Republican public health nonchalance and GOP anti-vaccine propaganda have also exacerbated suffering during the pandemic.