All day, we’re re-running our favorite blog posts of the last year. This post was originally published on Nov. 12, 2009.
Not the blue states.
There are roughly 46 million people living in America without health insurance coverage, representing about 15 percent of the nation’s population, according to the most recent numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau. But they aren’t distributed evenly around the country.
In Texas, for example, the uninsured rate in 2008 was the highest in the nation at 24.1 percent, while just 4.1 percent of Massachusetts residents lacked health coverage, representing the country’s lowest rate, the Census data revealed.
. . . the highest uninsured rates are largely concentrated in the South and the Mountain West, where the lawmakers tend to be more conservative — and more likely to oppose the Democrats’ health reform plans. . .
. . . The irony, of course, is that the same people who stand to benefit most from making insurance more affordable and accessible are also most likely to be represented by Republican lawmakers who are fighting tooth and nail to kill the reform proposals.
Congressional staffers are already beginning to put together the paperwork necessary to the consolidation of the differing House and Senate health care reform bills. It is not yet clear how the reconciliation process will actually work.
But President Obama has promised to be much more involved in a hands-on way at this latter stage, than when the two bills were being legislated. And that is all to the good. His skill as a "finder of common ground" could be essential to a successful blending process.
Many predict that House negotiators will find themselves giving up more than those from the Senate, with its zero-room-for-error vote margin. Senators Nelson and Lieberman will once again be "in the catbird seat." Ugh!