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Census Report: Uninsured Levels Remain High and Loss of Job-Based Health Coverage Continues to Grow


The 2010 Number of Uninsured People and Continued Loss of Employer Coverage Demonstrate Clear Need for Protecting the Health Safety Net in the Budget

Washington, D.C.—The Census Bureau today released its annual Current Population Survey. In so doing, it revised its methodology for counting the uninsured: the Census Bureau revised downwards – dating all the way back to 1999 – the numbers of people it previously calculated were uninsured. The revised and 2010 data show that the number of uninsured rose from 49.0 million in 2009 to 49.9 million in 2010. The following is the statement of Ron Pollack, Executive Director of the consumer health organization Families USA, about this development:

“The Census Bureau data on health insurance status reflect three trends that have reached historic and harmful levels:  the number of American workers with job-based health coverage has declined to a historic low, and our nation now has the highest number and percentage of uninsured ever recorded. (Note 1)

“The drop in job-based health coverage reflects a decade-long trend. Today, approximately one out of every six people is uninsured.

“Based on the Census Bureau’s revised numbers, 36.6 million people were uninsured in 2000, and in 2010 it was 49.9 million. In that 2000-2010 period, the portion of the population with job-based health insurance dropped from 65.1 percent to 55.3 percent. While the overall population grew from 279.5 million in 2000 to 306.1 million in 2010, the number with job-based health insurance declined from 181.9 million to 169.3 million.

“The health safety-net programs – Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) – continue to serve as a lifeline for people losing employer-sponsored health coverage. In 2010, 48.6 million people were enrolled in safety-net health coverage, an increase of 20.5 million over the number of such enrollees in 2000 when the number was 28.1 million. Of this increase, 11.1 million – more than half – were children. 

“The Census Bureau report clearly underscores the importance of protecting Medicaid from budget cuts, and it shows why implementation of the Affordable Care Act is crucial. Medicaid has become a key lifeline for millions of families across the country, and that lifeline must be protected.

“The Affordable Care Act will strengthen Medicaid at the same time that it provides important relief for middle-class families as well as small business owners who wish to provide affordable health insurance for their workers.”

Note 1: The Census Bureau’s annual Current Population Survey began to track annual uninsured rates in 1987.

Families USA is the national organization for health care consumers. It is nonprofit and nonpartisan, and its mission is to secure high-quality, affordable health coverage and care for all Americans.


Families USA | 1201 New York Ave., NW, Suite 1100, Washington, DC 20005
www.familiesusa.org | info@familiesusa.org


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