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Do More Americans Have Health Insurance?

Posted by Jane Akre
Wednesday, August 27, 2008 11:31 AM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family, In The Workplace
Tags: Health Insurance, SCHIP, Blue Cross, WellPoint, Big Insurance, Insurance Companies

August U.S. Census shows more are covered by insurance, but the crisis isn't over many say.

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IMAGE SOURCE: ©iStockphoto/ pediatrician and child/ author: jsmith

 

If you believe the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of people with health insurance rose last year for the first time since President Bush took office.

In 2007, the number of uninsured was 45.7 million, down from 47 million in 2006.

That surprised many healthcare experts who thought that more people would be going without insurance as fewer employers are offering coverage.

Some private insurers, such as Blue Cross, were even caught looking for ways to drop people with pre-existing conditions from their rolls.

Instead there is a shift toward more government coverage such as Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).  

Last year many states expanded eligibility to Medicaid to enroll more children of families earning up to 250 percent of the poverty line or $44,000 for a family of three. 

The number of people covered by Medicaid rose to 83 million last year, a jump of three million from the year before. 

While 26 states enrolled more low-income residents, Diane Rowland of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a non-partisan research group,  tells USA Today that may change as our troubled economy raises the cost of everything.  

"In good times, states expand programs, and in bad economic times … they scale them back," Rowland says.

Meanwhile, fewer employers are offering health insurance, but the numbers of employed with insurance remains steady at over 177 million.

That’s because of the population rise which offset the slight erosion in enrollment in private insurance, part of a continuing downward trend. 

Private health insurance covers about 202 million Americans.

Those who work in the health care field says this modest decline in the number of uninsured does not reduce the urgency of the insurance crisis.   

Ron Pollock, president of advocacy group Families USA, tells the Los Angeles Times that healthcare premiums are rising much quicker than paychecks.

"So a lot of businesses across the country are feeling they cannot sustain the healthcare coverage they used to provide for their workers, or they are requiring workers to pay more in premiums and deductibles. And, as a result, many of the workers can no longer afford coverage."

The debate on enrolling more children will continue next year when Congress once again visits expanding SCHIP which costs about $5 billion a year.

Last year, President Bush vetoed efforts to increase funding to enroll more children, instead granting an 18 month extension.

In the first comprehensive review since the policy, Georgetown University calls the directive “Moving Backward” because it has made it more difficult for states to enroll uninsured children.  #


1 Comment

Posted by Fredric L. Rice
Wednesday, August 27, 2008 5:11 PM EST

"If you believe the U.S. Census Bureau"

What idiot still believes anything that the Christofascist Bush regime says?

Comments for this article are closed.

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