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Number of Uninsured Decreased in 2007 But Census Report Shows Growing Health Coverage Problems
Date:8/26/2008

Employer-Sponsored Health Coverage Continues to Drop Even Before the Economic Downturn in 2008

The 45.7 Million Uninsured Number for 2007 Exceeds the Combined Population of 24 States Plus the District of Columbia

DENVER, Aug. 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Census Bureau's annual report released today shows that the number of uninsured dropped by 1.3 million people, but the report reflects continued worsening of health coverage for America's workers.

While the uninsured numbers dropped from 47 million in 2006 to 45.7 million in 2007, the portion of the public covered by employer-sponsored health insurance continued to diminish. In 2000, the portion of the public covered by employer-sponsored insurance was 64.2 percent; in 2007 - before the economic downturn in 2008 - it was reduced to 59.3 percent.

Even with the overall drop in uninsured Americans, the 45.7 million uninsured number for 2007 exceeds the combined population of 24 states plus the District of Columbia.

The number of uninsured would have been considerably worse had it not been for the growth in public safety net health coverage. From 2006 to 2007, the number of people receiving Medicaid coverage increased by 1.3 million; Medicare coverage grew by 1 million; and military health coverage jumped by 400,000.

"It is ironic that, at the very time the Bush Administration tried to cut back Medicaid and twice vetoed legislation to extend children's health coverage, the public safety net cushioned the loss of employer-sponsored health coverage," said Ron Pollack, Executive Director of Families USA. "It demonstrates the importance that the next President should protect, and not undermine, the public health safety net.

The biggest increase in Medicaid coverage occurred for children under 18 years of age. The number of children now covered by Medicaid or the State Children's Health Insurance Program grew by more than 800,000 - from 20.1 million to 20.9 million
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SOURCE Families USA
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