STATEMENT: CAP President Neera Tanden on 2011 Poverty, Income, and Health Coverage Numbers
Contact: Madeline Meth
Washington, D.C. — In response to the Census Bureau’s release of the 2011 poverty, income, and health data in the Current Population Survey, President and CEO of Center for American Progress Neera Tanden issued the following statement:
New Census Bureau data on poverty, income, and health insurance data should be a wake-up call to policymakers that the pending choices before them on health care, jobs, taxes, and deficit-reduction will carry enormous consequences for families and our economy. Steady rates of poverty and falling middle-class incomes in the context of a growing economy means that the gains from economic growth are concentrating in one place–the very top. In this context, conservatives’ plans to extend additional tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent while taking a budget ax to key services for low and middle-income Americans is unconscionable. Instead of budget-busting tax breaks for the wealthy, Congress should be investing in jobs.
A bright spot in the data is that the number of uninsured Americans has decreased for the first time in four years, in part due to the Affordable Care Act’s insurance reforms that allow young people to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26. The data also show that for the first time in the last 10 years the rate of private health insurance coverage has not decreased, contrary to the doomsday predictions by critics of the Affordable Care Act that the law would force millions of Americans to lose their private health insurance. In fact, the law has expanded coverage, even as we are still recovering from an economic downturn. These numbers also underscore just how important it is to move forward with implementation of the rest of the law, especially Medicaid expansion which will cover millions of low-income Americans.
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