Democratic-leaning areas used to look similar to Republican-leaning areas in terms of productivity, income and education. But they have been rapidly diverging, with blue areas getting more productive, richer and better educated. The red-blue divide isn’t just about money. It’s also, increasingly, a matter of life and death. What explains the divergence? Public policy certainly plays some role, especially in recent years, as blue states expanded Medicaid and drastically reduced the number of uninsured, while most red states didn’t. The growing gap in educational levels has also surely played a role: Better-educated people tend to be healthier than the less educated. So something bad is definitely happening to American society. But the conservative diagnosis of that problem is wrong -- dead wrong.
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Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma writer and a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is a Managing Editor for OpEd News, and a regular contributor for a variety of Internet sites.