Monday Open Line

Health insurance and its affordability has been a topic of political contention mostly in the past two decades, the social need was recognized much earlier. On this date in 1942, Rhode Island became the first state to set up a health or temporary disability insurance program for its working citizens unemployed because of sickness. The covered workers — and not employers — funded the program with a 1 percent tax on wages of less than $3,000 a year. Today, health insurance is largely an employer provided or subsidized benefit, though that is under some stress. For working employees, coverage declined from 76 percent in 1997 to 70.2 percent in 2010. Profile America is in its 16th year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.

Sunday, April 28th. The agony of defeat became particularly acute on this date a quarter century ago, when the American League’s Baltimore Orioles lost to the Minnesota Twins, 4-2. The loss was the 21st straight defeat for the Orioles, and set a most unwelcome league record for consecutive losses. Baltimore ended the string the next day by beating the Chicago White Sox, 9-0. They won only 53 more games that season but the timely win over Chicago helped the franchise avoid the all-time record for consecutive losses. That streak of 23 belongs to the national league’s Philadelphia Phillies in 1961. There are 814 professional sports teams and clubs in the U.S., 272 of them are baseball squads. Profile America is in its 16th year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.

Saturday, April 27th. For many years, the word “mouse” commonly evoked thoughts of Mickey. But that association began to be eclipsed on this date in 1981, when the Xerox Corporation, then a major developer, introduced the mouse to the commercial computing world. Its 80-10 information system — with the mouse — didn’t catch on, mostly because it cost $20,000. But the mouse itself roared elsewhere in the computer industry, and is still holding its own. Today, there are 425 domestic computer manufacturers in the country, along with almost 1,300 establishments making peripheral equipment and items. Together, their products are valued at nearly $110 billion. You can find more facts about America’s people, places and economy from the American Community Survey at <>.