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Religious Right/Bush health insurance & economic legacy

For the Religious Right, attacking health reform is a source of revival. Actually killing health reform would extend the legacy of George W. Bush, which recently released documents show the Religious Right did so much to create.

The legacy of the president whom the Southern Baptist Convention’s Richard Land likened to Harry Truman includes a growth of 6.6 million in the number of Americans not covered by health insurance. That loss of health insurance coverage hit the middle class hardest, observed Center for Budget and Policy Priorities analysts. The loss would have been even larger had there not been an offsetting growth in the number covered by Medicaid and SCHIP, noted Elise Gould of the Economic Policy Institute.

Center for Budget and Policy Priorities analysts wrote:

The Census Bureau reported [Thursday, Sept. 10] that 46.3 million U.S. residents lacked health insurance in 2008, an increase of 632,000 over the previous year. [1] Nearly 6.6 million more people were uninsured in 2008 than in 2001, when the previous recession hit bottom. The proportion of the population without health insurance climbed to 15.4 percent in 2008, slightly above (but not statistically different from) the 15.3 percent rate in 2007 and considerably above the 14.1 percent figure in 2001.

The U.S. Census Bureau’s annual report on income, poverty and health care, released Thursday, also suggests a bleak overall Bush economic legacy.

In the last year of the Bush administration “the average dollar income fell to the lowest level since 1997 — a decade’s worth of gains wiped out in one year.”

Bush is the only president in recent history to preside over an income decline through two presidential terms, Lawrence Mishel of the Economic Policy Institute is reported by The Atlantic to have observed. Bill Clinton (14 per cent), Ronald Reagan (8.1 per cent), and Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford (3.9 per cent) all oversaw increases in median household income.

All of that could be seen as raising questions about the qualifications of Land and the Religious Right to set, through public argument and lobbying, the national course on health reform.

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September 14, 2009 - Posted by | Politics, Religion, SBC | , ,

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