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Record Number of Americans Lack Health Insurance
Date:8/28/2007

Federal report cites drop in employer-sponsored coverage

TUESDAY, Aug. 28 (HealthDay News) -- A record number of Americans are without health insurance, according to new U.S. Census Bureau statistics released Tuesday.

Some of the trend can be explained by employers who are curtailing coverage or making it too costly for lower income workers to afford, the report said.

"The number of people without health insurance coverage increased from 44.8 million in 2005 to 47 million in 2006," David S. Johnson, chief of the bureau's Housing and Household Economic Statistics Division, said during a teleconference Tuesday.

The percentage of Americans without health insurance rose to 15.8 percent in 2006 from 15.3 percent in 2005, Johnson added. "This is the second consecutive year of increase," he said.

At the same time, the number of people with health insurance increased to 249.8 million in 2006, from 249 million in 2005. The number of Americans covered by private health insurance and government insurance remained about the same, according to the report, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2006.

The problems of the uninsured are particularly acute among children. The percent and the number of children under 18 without health insurance increased to 11.7 percent from 10.9 percent from 2005 to 2006, and to 8.7 million from 8 million, respectively.

"The number of children covered by private insurance decreased from 65.8 percent in 2005 to 64.6 percent in 2006," Johnson said. "The increase in the uninsured rate can be attributed to the decline in private coverage."

Moreover, 19.3 percent of children in poverty had no health insurance.

The percentage of people covered by private employer or privately purchased insurance declined only slightly, from 68.5 percent in 2005 to 67.9 percent in 2006, Johnson said. "Persons covered by government-provided heal
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