by Jim Nintzel
A Republican lifer in Wranglers and cowboy boots, Pierce is his party’s old school ideal: a self-sufficient small-business owner living off the land, growing steaks for people who can afford them. He’s also a prominent Arizona state senator, formerly president of the senate and majority whip.
So it’s somewhat surprising that he has invited me to his home district in order to sell me on the benefits of Obamacare.
Here in Yavapai County, most everybody you’ll meet is Republican. In 2012, Mitt Romney received nearly two votes here to each of Obama’s. And yet in this rural red county in a very red state, it’s only taken a couple of years for federally-subsidized health care to quietly seep into the hinges of everyday life and governance. The rate of sign-ups for the program in the county has nearly doubled from 2014, when 22 percent of the area’s potential market share chose a plan through the federal exchange, to March 2015, when 43 percent did, according to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. The latter figure ranks the county sixth among 54 areas in the state in percentage of the potential market share which has signed up, outranking far more liberal areas in Arizona.
This is what Obamacare Country looks like.