NATIONAL — The number of children under age 19 without health insurance declined in 1,171 counties and rose in 17, according to estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau.
“These statistics are an indicator that Obamacare is good for America,” said Democrat James J. Devine. “While the Democratic President has been maligned and scorned by Republicans, the facts show that his signature legislative accomplishment has done part of what it was intended to do.”
Devine said he would prefer to allow all Americans to enroll in Medicare, the government health insurance program that covers senior citizens, which could be converted into a national single-payer system, much like that used in Canada, but he acknowledged that President Obama deserves a great deal of credit.
“National health insurance was first proposed more than 100 years ago by President Theodore Roosevelt, though he was defeated in 1912 and efforts to achieve universal coverage had been stymied ever since,” said Devine.
“In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt ended up removing the health care provisions from the pending Social Security legislation as publicly funded health care programs were attacked by the American Medical Association as well as state and local affiliates of the organized medicine lobby,” said Devine.
Devine said outright lies were employed in opposition to universal health care, citing the Harry and Louise ads televised when President Bill Clinton’s administration launched an effort headed up by First Lady Hillary Clinton.
“The tactics that stopped the 1993 Clinton health care plan from being enacted into law proved ineffective against Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” Devine said. “While the greedy top tenth of one percent is still trying to derail health care for Americans, these facts show that the program works.”
Nationally, according to the American Community Survey, an essential input to the health insurance estimates, the percentage of children under 19 without health insurance declined from 9.7 percent (7.5 million) in 2008 to 7.5 percent (5.8 million) in 2012, while the percentage for working-age adults rose from 19.4 percent (36.1 million) to 20.8 percent (39.8 million).
The health insurance statistics are provided for two income categories that are relevant to recent changes in federal law.
One category is families with incomes less than or equal to 138 percent of the poverty threshold. Eligibility for Medicaid was expanded earlier this year up to this threshold in participating states, but some that have Republican leadership refused to allow Medicaid expansion.
The second income category is new to the health insurance estimates this year: families with incomes between 138 percent and 400 percent of the poverty threshold. Under the law, these families can receive tax credits that will help them pay for health coverage contracted through the new health insurance exchanges.
Devine said Republicans and the nation’s wealthiest citizens should stop trying to prevent implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which has become widely known as “Obamacare” due to GOP efforts to deride the once unpopular legislation.
“We are all in this together, and taking care of American children will insure a stronger and healthier future for our county,” said Devine. “Soon, it will become clear to all Americans that Democrats are right and Republicans are wrong when it comes to socialized medicine.”
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