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Twitter Users Erupt Over HHS Official’s Halloween-Themed Medicare Joke

Twitter users were appalled on Wednesday when an official with the Department of Health and Human Services decided to celebrate Halloween by tweeting an insensitive joke about Medicare.

Seema Verma, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which falls under HHS, joked on Twitter that the “scariest Halloween costume” would be a shirt championing “Medicare for all.”

The rate of uninsured U.S. adults ages 19 to 64 has risen from 12.7 percent in 2016 to 15.5 percent in 2018, according to the health care foundation Commonwealth Fund. Roughly 4 million people lost coverage in the last two years, likely as a result of the Trump administration’s efforts to undermine the Affordable Care Act, the foundation said.

The uninsured rate is particularly high among lower-income adults — those living well below the poverty line, making roughly $30,000 for an individual and $61,000 for a family of four.

Verma subsequently tweeted about the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ efforts to “strengthen Medicare” and retweeted an article arguing that it would be a bad idea for all Americans to have access to a single-payer national health insurance program.

Many Twitter users were not convinced.

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