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September 11, 1996

Who Will Vote for the Uninsured in '96?

JAMA. 1996;276(10):763. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540100007002

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THEY HELD the spotlight in 1992—tens of millions of uninsured Americans who told of their plight during public forums and in countless news stories. But in the 1996 presidential campaign, they are about as conspicuous as a polar bear in a snowstorm.

Even though their ranks have increased in the last 4 years, to an estimated 40 million, the uninsured can expect little relief from either candidate as the calendar unfurls toward election day. "The marketplace solution being put forth by both parties does not address the needs of the uninsured," said Jeff Jacobs, director of congressional affairs for the American Public Health Association.

President Bill Clinton late last month signed landmark legislation that provides long-sought job-to-job portability of health insurance and restricts the denial of coverage on the basis of preexisting conditions. But the bipartisan bill, for which both parties clamored to take credit, is designed to help