Nation's top sociologist: Obamacare is an 'anti-poverty program' for blacks, Latinos

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Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Obamacare,United States,Health Care

Obamacare is an "anti-poverty program" aiding poor blacks and Latinos, especially in inner cities, and will help those minorities win health insurance they otherwise wouldn't get, according to Harvard's — and the nation's — leading expert on poverty.

In a paper that marks the 25th anniversary of his groundbreaking study of the poor, "The Truly Disadvantaged," Harvard sociologist William Julius Wilson said that without Obamacare and the president's first-term stimulus programs, poverty in the nation would be far worse.

"Quite frankly, I think that Obama's programs have prevented poverty, including concentrated poverty, from rapidly rising, considering the terrible economy," wrote Wilson in the latest issue of the Journal of Applied Social Science. He added that urban conditions for the poor haven't changed much since his book first came out.

Wilson, the former president of the American Sociological Association, credited stimulus programs for slowing the rapid rise of poverty after Obama's 2008 election, but added that the Affordable Care Act has recently helped minorities stay afloat.

"I consider the Health Care Legislation as an anti-poverty program. Over the long term, the Health Care Legislation will significantly benefit lower income Americans," wrote Wilson, who holds 41 honorary degrees. "Indeed, the share of Americans who are uninsured declined between 2010 and 2011. And this improvement was in part due to a provision of the Health Care Bill that allows children to remain on their parents' health plan until they reach age 26. Over the long term, the Health Care Bill will have a huge positive impact on blacks and Latinos, two groups who are seriously underrepresented among those with private health insurance.

Wilson, who wrote that he has visited with Obama officials in the White House, concluded that had Mitt Romney been elected, the poor wouldn't have received the same attention.

"Just think what the prospects for poor people would have been if Romney had been elected president," he said.

Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.