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Rick Perry must love uninsured people, because he’s helped create so many of them

Buried in this story about the grim statistics on poverty that were recently released by the Census is this little nugget that hits close to home:

Health insurance coverage also dropped for most age groups, although census officials said the change was not statistically significant. In all, 49.9 million people lacked health insurance, or 16.3 percent of the population.

Texas had the highest rate of uninsured residents, at 24.6 percent.

While the number of uninsured people nationally has crept up, the rate has held steady, thanks in part to an increase in insured 18 to 26-year olds, that being a result of the Affordable Care Act. Texas’ rate of uninsured people has led the nation for some time now. Here’s a story from 2009 that says Texas’ rate of uninsured people from 2006 to 2008 was 24.9%. Here’s a story from 2010 that said the rate in 2009 was 26.1%, or 6.4 million people. It also adds the following:

Despite growth in the total uninsured population in Texas, the population of uninsured children actually declined. Children, like adults, continued to lose coverage through employer-sponsored insurance, but increased coverage through public programs like CHIP and Medicaid more than made up for that loss.

To put it mildly, that trend is unlikely to continue given the budget cuts that were imposed this year. The point I want to make is simply this: Rick Perry has been Governor for ten years now. He’s had ample opportunities to present policy ideas that would reduce the rate of uninsured people, and he’s had ample opportunities to support the policy ideas of others to do the same. He has never done so. In fact, he has supported cutting hundreds of thousands of children from CHIP, he has supported eligibility requirements for Medicaid that make it less available, he has supported biannual enrollments for Medicaid that ensure fewer eligible people stay on the rolls, and of course he pushed for a disastrous privatization scheme for the Health and Human Services Commission that made a huge mess of the system and cost Texas millions of dollars. If you want to ensure that the rest of the country catches up with Texas in this department, Rick Perry is your man for President.

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