The percentage of American adults who lack health insurance coverage has not only increased during the presidency of Barack Obama, but it has continued to increase since Obama signed his signature piece of legislation last year mandating that by 2014 every American carry health insurance, according to a Gallup survey released today.
In 2008, when George W. Bush was president, according to Gallup, 14.9 percent of adult residents of the United States lacked health insurance coverage. That increased to 16.2 percent in 2009, the year that Obama was inaugurated, and to 16.4 percent in 2010, the year that Obama signed his law requiring that all Americans have health insurance.
In the first half of this year, according to data released by Gallup today, the percentage of adults in the United States lacking health insurance ticked up to 16.8 percent.
That conclusion is based on Gallup’s interviews with 177,237 American adults from January through June of this year. The interviews were part of the ongoing Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index survey.
Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on March 23, 2010. It mandates that all Americans must purchase government-approved health insurance plans by 2014. Under the legislation, families earning less than 400 percent of the poverty level will receive a federal subsidy to buy insurance.
The constitutionality of the mandate is being challenged in federal court by more than half of the states.
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Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is calling out web news aggregator Matt Drudge for suggesting that she’s an ogre eager to invade the privacy of Americans and in particular those who travel by air.
“I think my nickname is ‘Big Sis.’ I don’t think he means it kindly, actually,” Napolitano said Tuesday, accurately recalling the moniker that often accompanies scary-looking photos of her on Drudge’s popular news site.
“I think that what he means is we are watching too much—kind of an Orwellian view. He’s just wrong. I mean, he’s just wrong,” Napolitano declared during a POLITICO Playbook breakfast at the Newseum. She said the privacy impact of new airport screening technology and similar programs are thoroughly vetted before they are implemented.
“We want to be conscious of civil liberties and civil rights protections—and we are,” Napolitano insisted. “We don’t do anything without kind of running it through our own civil rights and privacy office. We’re one of only two departments in the federal government that actually has a presidentially-appointed privacy office and officer.”
(While Obama did name a privacy officer for the Department of Homeland Security, the president has so far failed to nominate a quorum for a Congressionally-mandated oversight board to track civil liberties issues government-wide.)
“We run all of our programs our technology buys all of those kinds of things we think about privacy and when too much is too much, but on the other hand our responsibility is to maximize our ability to prevent something violent from being successful. So we’re always striking that balance but we think we’ve hit it pretty right,” she said.
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Europeans are plagued by mental and neurological illnesses, with almost 165 million people or 38 percent of the population suffering each year from a brain disorder such as depression, anxiety, insomnia or dementia, according to a large new study.
With only about a third of cases receiving the therapy or medication needed, mental illnesses cause a huge economic and social burden — measured in the hundreds of billions of euros — as sufferers become too unwell to work and personal relationships break down.
“Mental disorders have become Europe’s largest health challenge of the 21st century,” the study’s authors said.
At the same time, some big drug companies are backing away from investment in research on how the brain works and affects behavior, putting the onus on governments and health charities to stump up funding for neuroscience.
“The immense treatment gap … for mental disorders has to be closed,” said Hans Ulrich Wittchen, director of the institute of clinical psychology and psychotherapy at Germany’s Dresden University and the lead investigator on the European study.
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Tea Party groups roundly condemned Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa after he called on union supporters unhappy with congressional Republicans to “take these son-of-a-bitches out.”
The Tea Party Express called the comments “inexcusable,” saying they amounted to “a call for violence on peaceful Tea Party members.”
The national group, along with Tea Party Nation, urged President Obama to condemn the remarks delivered by Hoffa while warming up the crowd Monday before a Labor Day speech by the president. The White House so far has not commented on Hoffa’s strong language.
Teamsters Leader Attacks Tea Party Before Obama’s Speech
President talks jobs and economy at union rally in Detroit
“Lying attacks on the tea party movement have disturbingly increased in recent days. It is high time that elected leaders like President Obama were held accountable when their key supporters engage in harmful and divisive rhetoric,” Tea Party Express Chairwoman Amy Kremer said in a statement. “We at Tea Party Express demand an immediate apology from Teamster President Jimmy Hoffa. We further urge President Obama to strongly rebuke Hoffa for his dangerous comments.”
Hoffa is standing by his comment, telling the blog Talking Points Memo that he’d say it again because “they declared war on us. We’re fighting back.”
Hoffa used the war analogy during his warm-up talk for the president in Detroit.
“President Obama, this is your army, we are ready to march,” Hoffa said. “But everybody here’s got to vote. If we go back, and keep the eye on the prize, let’s take these son-of-a-bitches out and give America back to an America where we belong.”
The president did not reference the remarks during his speech Monday afternoon. Asked about Hoffa’s comments Tuesday, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz declined to condemn them.
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