Was Congressman Kingston’s comment about the nation’s uninsured correct?
According to a recent Politifact Georgia article, the Congressman’s claim is “half-true.”
“There are still more people uninsured today than when (Barack) Obama was elected president,” U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, a Republican from Savannah, said recently on the Fox News Channel.
Politifact Georgia looked into the statistics used by the Congressman, as well as other reputable sources tracking the nation’s uninsured population.
Kingston pointed to a Gallup Poll, which showed 15.4% of Americans were uninsured when the President first took office. Currently, the poll lists the nation’s uninsured at 15.9%. The margin of error was one percentage point, which is important to note for PolitFact’s “half-true” ruling.
The Centers for Disease Control also tracks the nation’s insurance rate. They had the number of uninsured at 14.7% in 2008, versus 14.6% in 2013. Under this assessment, there has been a slight decrease in net uninsured since around the time of the President’s election, though it was not immediately clear exactly when in 2008 the survey took place.
The U.S. Census Bureau has some more specific numbers, though not the most recent. In 2008, the Census Bureau listed 44 million Americans uninsured. As of 2012, that number rose to 48 million Americans.
I’m not sure what method Politifact uses to determine the degree of truth in a statement, but based on the sources they cite in their own article, this should at least be a “mostly true” statement. Indeed the Gallup Poll used by Kingston’s office, along with the Census Bureau, bolster the validity of Kingston’s statement. Further, the CDC shows only a negligible (0.1%) decrease in the uninsured over the course of five years.
When two out of three statistical sources support a claim, it is by definition, “mostly true.”
More to the point, these numbers ought to concern even the most ardent supporters of the law. Regardless of how “true” you feel the Congressman’s comment was, the result of a fundamental restructuring of one-sixth of the nation’s economy should not be a negligible decrease in the uninsured.
Some may argue the law simply hasn’t been given enough time to work, but then, whose fault is that? Are the self-imposed executive delays in the law the result of anyone’s actions apart from the Obama administration?
One cannot seriously argue the delays imposed by the architects of the law, to mitigate its negative effects, are sufficient to explain away the law failing to achieve its fundamental goal.
Was Kingston’s comment correct? I believe so. Perhaps the degree of its truth can be debated, but what cannot be debated is the broader point Kingston was trying to make when he said the comment.
Obamacare is failing its basic stated purpose. Moreover, the post hoc “fixes” that are being written into the law at every turn are doing nothing more than delaying the inevitable.
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