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AP: Health Costs Make Millions More Poor

From a sobbing Associated Press:

Census: Number of poor may be millions higher

By Hope Yen [sic], Associated Press Wed Jan 5, 2010

WASHINGTON – The number of poor people in the U.S. is millions higher than previously known, with 1 in 6 Americans — many of them 65 and older — struggling in poverty due to rising medical care and other costs, according to preliminary census figures released Wednesday.

Notice that, at least according to our news media, people never struggle in poverty due to taxes or other government imposed costs. Somehow it is always the fault of whatever the agenda the media is pushing at the moment – such as in this case, ‘healthcare costs.’

At the same time, government aid programs such as tax credits and food stamps kept many people out of poverty, helping to ensure the poverty rate did not balloon even higher during the recession in 2009, President Barack Obama’s first year in office.

So the census was somehow able to determine that nobody slipped into poverty while Mr. Obama was President. That is amazing. And never mind that the Democrats have controlled the economy — as much as anyone can — for the last four years.)

Under a new revised census formula, overall poverty in 2009 stood at 15.7 percent, or 47.8 million people. That’s compared to the official 2009 rate of 14.3 percent, or 43.6 million, that was reported by the Census Bureau last September.

Isn’t it wonderful how these formulas keep being ‘revised’ until they get the numbers they want?

Across all demographic groups, Americans 65 and older sustained the largest increases in poverty under the revised formula — nearly doubling to 16.1 percent.

As we recall, "older" Americans are usually listed the wealthiest demographic in the land. They often own their own homes and have pensions and investments.

As a whole, working-age adults 18-64 also saw increases in poverty, as well as whites and Hispanics. Children, blacks and unmarried couples were less likely to be considered poor under the new measure

What’s this? Children and blacks are less likely to be poor under this new measure? Back to the drawing board!

The new measure will not replace the official poverty rate but will be published alongside the traditional figure this fall as a "supplement" for federal agencies and state governments to determine anti-poverty policies.

In other words, it is just another propaganda tool.

Economists have long criticized the official poverty measure as inadequate because it only includes pretax cash income and does not account for medical, transportation and work expenses.

"Under the new measure, we can clearly see the effects of our government policies," said Kathleen Short, a Census Bureau research economist who calculated the revised poverty numbers. "When you’re accounting for in-kind benefits and tax credits, you’re bringing many people in extreme poverty off the very bottom."

The official measure is based on a 1955 cost of an emergency food diet and does not factor in other living costs. Nor does it consider non-cash government aid when calculating income, which surged higher in 2009 during the recession.

In other words, once you factor in government benefits there aren’t so many poor people after all. But how come this aid was never factored in until the era of Obama?

Short’s analysis, published Wednesday as part of a series of census working papers on poverty, shows that out-of-pocket medical expenses had a significant impact in affecting the number of poor — without those costs, poverty would have dropped from 15.7 percent to 12.4 percent

We already have a healthcare program for ‘poor people.’ It’s called Medicaid, and it costs untold trillions of dollars. So exactly what expenses are we talking about here?

Of course we realize that the whole purpose of this study and this article is to argue for Obama-care. But ‘the poor’ already have Obama-care and it doesn’t seem to be helping them much.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Thursday, January 6th, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

24 Responses to “AP: Health Costs Make Millions More Poor”

  1. JannyMae

    “Economists have long criticized the official poverty measure as inadequate because it only includes pretax cash income and does not account for medical, transportation and work expenses. ”

    My understanding is that it also doesn’t include freebies like rent subsidies. I remember back in Illinois hearing about people who were renting 500 dollar a month apartments for less than 1/10th that amount.

    It’s also hilarious that they talk about healthcare costs. I worked in a hospital in a poor neighborhood in Chicago. We always had to take the Medicaid patients down to the cashier prior to discharge. I can’t count how many times the cashier said, “You owe a dollar a day for every day you were in the hospital,” and the Medicaid patient countered, “Oh, I doesn’t gots da money now.” Funny, they always had money for their cigarettes and booze and drugs, though. Your conclusion is exactly right. The “poor” already have Obamacare, and it isn’t helping.

    I feel for those who have actually had hard times and are truly in need, but those able-bodied ones who have made “poverty” a way of life I have no respect or sympathy for.

    • AcornsRNutz

      Heck, while we are taking Chicago, take a look into Madame Michelle’s history with healthcare for the poor at the University of Chicago. That will be what you can expect from health care in the near future.

  2. Government intrusion into a free economy is fraught with danger, and must be carefully, diligently, managed. Not since Calvin Coolidge, in the 1920’s, has there been an understanding of how badly the feds can damage our economic livelihoods.

    Federal government benefits are inevitably corrupting.

    Everything which is provided to us “free” will be overused and wasted. It’s just human nature. If you had free electricity, you’d never remember to turn things off. Free food would result in massive food waste. Free housing would be a disaster. Who would care for a house that could be replaced effortlessly and at no cost on a whim? Democrats know this but choose to lie. They want gasoline prices to soar so that usage will decline.

    If we have a right to medical care, why not food care, transportation care, job care, income care, self-esteem care, etc.? There’s no logical end.

    It’s morally corrupting to tell people that anything is free and doesn’t cost somebody – somewhere – time, effort, and/or money.

    Marxism/’progressivism’ is the most evil fraud ever perpetrated on the human race.

  3. Rusty Shackleford

    “F— the poor.”

    There, I said it.

    • Why the venom against the poor, Rusty? I don’t get it. That sounds cruel and unusual.

    • AcornsRNutz

      I am a firm believer in helping your fellow man with what you can and when you can for the good of your soul and because it’s just the right thing to do. However (comma, pause for effect) Rusty is dead right.

      If we are to use the liberal concept of the “poor”, yes F–‘em. And if we continue to use the same liberal defnition, we could add “environment/climate”, “world peace”, “minorities”, my “own good”, or “the children”. When those nebulous words are used to justify all sorts of liberty destroying utopian wealth redistribution and regulation, I have no problem saying F- Em. Any time I hear anything is being done for those things, I know we are all about to take it in the shorts.

    • Liberals Demise

      Hand Up not Hand Out, RiverO!

      I’m one of the poor and I say “F” em too!!
      Each man steers his way through life and without government intrusion.

  4. mr_bill

    Maybe we can ratchet up the spending on the War on Poverty, after all, it has accomplished so much. /sarc

  5. proreason

    What poor?

    The people who are dying young from obesity? The people with iphone plans that probably less than 20% of readers here can afford? The people who pay NOTHING for health care that is the envy of the rest of the world? The people who have free education, free food, free clothing if they take the time to collect it, subsidized housing, subsidized prescription drugs for their obesity; the ones who get paid to have babies, and get thousands of dollars a year in tax credits and SSI and god knows what else.

    There are no poor in America. Even homeless people are provided food and shelter that is superior to the food and shelter 90% of humanity has had for 200,000 years.

    Oh but wait. I forgot the definition of “the poor”.

    Here it is: “the poor” – people who EARN in the lowest 20% of all people in the country (not counting welfare, SSI, tax rebates, food stamps, subsidies, and hundreds of other forms of wealth redistribution).

    Maybe if they bothered to get a job, they wouldn’t even fall into that category. But then, they would be “working”, wouldn’t they? Can’t have that.

  6. U NO HOO

    Poor means not good.

  7. I’m legitimately confused. Someone help me out?

    “In other words, once you factor in government benefits there aren’t so many poor people after all. But how come this aid was never factored in until the era of Obama?”

    Indeed, why?

    If government benefits were factored, poverty indicators would go down and the government would have less ammunition to pass anti-poverty measures. On the other hand, if government aid was factored, the figures could be spun to show the benefits that government can afford the poor.

    I guess it depends on how you spin these figures… but why is the discrepancy in poverty figures only *now* being brought to light by the AP? This has not been a hot topic of conversation in my few years of news-reading.

  8. Mae

    A friend of mine from El Salvador used to ask the question, “Why are the poor people here so fat?” And then further his question with, “In my country, the poor are very skinny because they do not have enough to eat.” Even the poorest of the poor in this country look OK to the man in a foreign land who has absolutely nothing except the ragged clothes on his back…he gets no education, no food stamps, no medical aid, no cell phones, no transportation, nothing but that which American missionaries or other charitable organizations provide him along with, hopefully, instruction on how to get himself out of poverty. On a comparative basis against the world, there are no poor in America. Americans compared to Americans present a different story–able bodied poor have not taken advantage of everything offered, believe themselves victims, and would rather not change their attitude nor evaluate themselves on what they need to improve in order to pull themselves out of their predicament. How do people from
    Cambodia, South Korea, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam come to America and within a generation pull themselves out of the poverty-stricken place of their arrival? Because they work like hell on anything and everything to get ahead and band together for success. Be great if natural born citizens would do the same.

    • mr_bill

      Precisely right Mae. In these truly poor nations, there is no industry, no jobs, nobody to even beg from and certainly no means of elevating oneself out of abject poverty, short of a governmental coup. Our poor are indeed far better off than the poor of nearly any other nation on earth.

      America is called “The Land of Opportunity” because for anybody who wants it and is willing to put in the sweat to earn it, success and wealth are attainable. Our history is chock-full of examples of this. I’m not just talking about the Sam Waltons of America, I’m talking about the people like the guy who runs the dry-cleaner I use. He owns that business and a restaurant. He came here with nothing and has worked tirelessly to earn his citizenship and build two businesses. He drives a nice car and likely lives in a nice home. Opportunities like this abound for all who come here [legally] or were born here. I recall the story of a New England woman who was penniless and began recycling scrap metal to feed her family. She worked hard and has built one of the largest metal recycling businesses in the country. She had no special education, no pedigree, and no help. She succeeded because she decided to succeed.

      The poor don’t need a handout, they’ve become addicted to handouts and many actually believe the American Dream is unattainable. That is the true tragedy here. Far too many Americans have been brainwashed into believing that the American Dream isn’t available to them. This injustice has been accomplished through generations of government plantation inculcation by liberals and they have been convinced that they just can’t do it without government. More than 20% of the population have been duped into believing that they have no other alternative but to wait for a pittance to arrive in their mailbox twice a month and that somehow those who have attained success are preventing them from also attaining that same success. Liberals want people to believe this because if Americans realize they can do it themselves, the democrat party has no platform, no use, and liberals will no longer have a reason to receive the votes of the “downtrodden.” It is perhaps the most cruel torture that can be inflicted upon men or a nation: the destruction of countless lives to preserve political power for a group of elitists.

      In The Land of Opportunity, the “poor” are poor because they choose to be so by ignoring the opportunities and the promise of The American Dream. So I join with Rusty and AcornsRNutz in saying F— the poor.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      “…the “poor” are poor because they choose to be so…”

      There. In the few conversations I’ve had with loopy left-wits, they always make the statement, “I just can’t see why, in the richest nation in the world, there are people who live on the street, who have nothing and are poor”. Of course, their point in saying that is that “the not-poor” should give them things and money. I respond to that statement with, “Yes, you’re right. It’s unbelievable.”

      Truly, there are those who are infirm and cannot provide for themselves, of which there are no fewer than 110 programs and resources to help them out, from the government via tax dollars. To say nothing of the private charities.

      I am often reminded of the story I read about a college student who, some years ago, decided to see how hard it was to become self-sufficient so as part of his master’s degree, opted to set out, penniless, and function as a member of the “homeless poor”. He lived on the street to get a taste of what that was like and also looked for work. He played his part so as not to look and act like a college student which included not bathing, cutting his hair and not using the king’s English. He got a part-time job cleaning restrooms at a convenience store/gas station and kept his earnings in cash. One story he told was how one of his “fellow” street urchins tried to hurt him to get the meager sum to go buy drugs. But he kept his earnings, ate with it, and eventually found a place that would rent him a small shed for shelter. Not legal, per se, but shelter nonetheless and he was able, then to shower at the YMCA, get a haircut, wash his clothes and by the end of the summer, he was being offered more responsibility and higher wages. He then had to “come clean” about his exercise in homelessness and it got a lot of raised eyebrows.

      In this nation, 90% of “the poor” are there by choice. They gave up. They are now “victims” and prefer to live in the land of no responsibility. Shoot, even ex-cons have programs where they can re-establish themselves into society, if they want to. I’m not saying it’s easy because a person made bad choices and are going to be surrounded by similar types for awhile until they decide to do what is necessary to rise up. Look at Michael Vick…a model ex-con if ever there was one. (*snicker).

      Seriously, unless you are mentally ill, or so badly physically unable and cannot do anything you can find some sort of work. It may not buy you a Rolls-Royce but you can get started, at least. The people who are “poor” in the US often have better education opportunities than 99% of the rest of the world but have chosen to drop out, quit, take themselves out of circulation, however one puts it. No other nation in the world has so much to offer to those who are “poor” than the United States. But so many, including the better-off, think that ending poverty means giving poor people money.

    • mr_bill

      “They are now ‘victims’ and prefer to live in the land of no responsibility.”

      Bingo, that is the real problem here. Responsibility. “Apathy is the glove into which evil slips its hand.” It is far easier to surrender than to be responsible. It is the path of least resistance. If that path were made more difficult and those receiving their government stipend were suddenly made to be responsible for contributing something to society in return for it, poverty would cease to be. Where government absolves an individual of responsibility, it deprives him of a tool necessary to motivate himself and to be productive.

      One could join the clergy for food, shelter and clothing. One could join the military and have all that he or she needs and then some whilst earning a salary, benefits, and contributing greatly to the nation. Heck, even working at McDonalds longer than 6 or 7 months could secure an individual an assistant manager position and a decent wage sufficient to provide the basics plus an automobile and a TV. All of the above require responsibility and self-discipline (especially the military) and that is what America’s poor are actually lacking.

    • proreason

      The poor in this country simply can’t afford to get out of that category. Their lifestyle would be destroyed.

  9. You may have missed the most telling observation about the whole article:

    nowhere in it does the author say a what income a person is “poor”.

    Kinda like the Dem’s complaints about “the rich” – never defining how much income qualifies as “rich”.

  10. Dear Scrooge,
    Get ready to experience something you never dreamed existed. Behind your walls you sit, ignorant and blind, wallowing in your own pride, without the benefit of God’s indoor plumbing that would keep you from soiling yourself. Your heart is a rock, dead and cold. Your vision is nearly gone, which keeps you from seeing your state.

    All is not lost, however. The Great Creator has something in store for you, a little trip, so to speak. You will be shown things; shocking and highly disturbing things that will force you to awaken. It’s your choice from then on to accept or decline the offer of a better life. All of us hope you make the right choice,

    Yours truly,
    The Angel

  11. 64dodger

    Would someone please tell me when did the poor beging paying for medical costs?

    If they don’t pay for medical costs then how could it make them any poorer?

    The poor are covered by Medicaid and a myraid of other state and federal programs.

    This is just more propaganda from the left.

  12. tranquil.night

    “the roAD of LiFe WHere is iT goiNg wiTh you”

    Don’t we have a government agency for that?

    The random excessive capital letter usage makes me want to give up on the question almost instantly.

    Liberals, always so profound.

  13. merkelerk

    Rusty, that took a lot of courage.
    To say something so offensive yet so obvious is rarely done in polite (liberal) society.

    I applaud you and add my name to those who have said F the poor.

    I gladly help out those who have seen misfortune and hard times. I myself have been there.

    However, if you chose “Poor” as your life’s ambition and career, I say get off your a*ss and help yourself (and I don’t mean to more of my hard earned income).

  14. wirenut

    I just don’t know when this wagon went into the rhubarb patch. IMHO. If you do not work, you have no seat at the table. Period. You may even have to start at the bottom, and work your way up. I did, my wife did, and my children are struggling with. What “right” does anyone get to eat the food off of our plates that we’ve “earned”, before we have? None. Get the government out of our earned paychecks, and we can help more where it’s needed most. Like stateside families of those that are serving this nation. In my world charity starts with work. As my father told me years back when he first started raising crops: You picked your row, Now hoe it! In other words, Get Rid of the Weeds.

  15. BillK

    Let’s also not forget the ever increasing threshold of how “poor” is defined – recall most of the “poor” now have multiple color TVs, cable, multiple cars, air conditioning, etc.

  16. yadayada

    I think the “profundity” of the graffitti would have been more inspiring had it said, “WHere is iT going wiThOUT you?”
    after all, the road of life goes on. they simply choose to sit at the intersections with cardboard signs.

    how about the lib writer and photog who (we are supposed to believe) are desperately wringing their hands, pay their “model” for the photo shoot? doesn’t have to be elle wages, just the same wages as for, say, a kmart ad model?

    oh wait. would he then be in the other lib fav category of working poor? hey, a two fer one propaganda! wait add him to the list of new jobs created by obi wan’s recovering economy! he could be like the homeless-golden-voice-rags-to-riches-recovering-addict we’re all so sick of hearing about. this guy is a virtual propaganda treasure trove!

    after all, I’ve had my photo in the local paper twice in 9 yrs. and both times they asked my permission to publish. I wonder if they asked the bum in the pic. he should say, “gimme $20 and you can take a pic.” the homeless should organize, establish a going rate, and demand payment for all the propaganda photos.
    make the dems really happy- when the hobos have a union.

    see? everywhere you look, IF YOU WANT TO, you can rise out of poverty.
    I’ve been 11 different countries in south America, middle east, and europe. I’ve seen true poverty. my family was poor when I was a child. I’m not rich by any means now, but my family has all the necessities and a few small luxuries. by American standards I call them luxuries. I’ve been places where it would seem like magic to be able to push a button and have water come out of a tube in the wall- let alone HOT water!
    and I’ve seen first hand-
    the U.S. is the land of opportunity !!!


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