New Report: Fewer Americans Have Health Insurance

As health care costs climb, and more and more Americans are left without insurance, according to a new report.A growing number of Americans are doing without health insurance, a sign that hard times continue for many even as the U.S. economy slowly continues to recover.

According to a Wednesday report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), a liberal think tank, 50.7 million people had no health insurance in 2009, up 4.3 million from 2008. The percentage of people without health-care coverage jumped to 16.7% last year from 15.4%. These are the largest single-year increases on record since the center began collecting data back in 1987.

CBPP paints a dire picture of the situation:
"For example, between 2008 and 2009, the uninsured rate grew among both workers and nonworkers, among single individuals and those in families, among people in all regions of the country, among men and women, among those at all income levels, and among all major racial and ethnic groups other than Asians. Nearly one of every three individuals living below the poverty line lacked insurance in 2009, as did more than one in four individuals with incomes between one and two times the poverty line."
Uninsured rates were substantially higher in the south (19.7%) and the west (18.3%) than in other regions. About one of every three Hispanics and 19.7% of inner-city residents lacked coverage. Employer-based health insurance coverage also is on the decline. CBPP found that 58.9% of the nonelderly population had employer coverage in 2009, down 3 percentage points from 2008 and 8.9 percentage points from 1999.

Health-Insurance Costs Skyrocket

Meanwhile, health-insurance costs continue to skyrocket. Premiums for single coverage averaged $5,049 per year -- up 130% from 1999, according to an annual survey of employers. The average premium for family coverage increased more than 140% over the same period to $13,770.

For CBPP and other backers of President Obama's health care reform, these figures underscore the need for the law, which Republicans are vowing to repeal.

"In all states, the great majority of those uninsured will be eligible either for expanded Medicaid coverage or for subsidized insurance through the state-based exchange(s)," the think tank says. "Thus, health reform will sharply reduce the number of uninsured. Had these provisions already been in effect in 2009, the increase in the number of Americans without insurance would have been a modest fraction of what it was."

But opponents of the reform, such as Robert Moffit, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation's Center For Policy Innovations, say its supporters fail to account for the law's more than $1 trillion cost to taxpayers. "They are not wrong... (But) you are talking about a huge increase," Moffit says. "If you look at the data, [it's] a relatively small number of people who are chronically uninsured."

The vast majority of people who lack coverage previously had insurance, but lost it when they lost their jobs, which is why health insurance should not be tied exclusively to employers, Moffit says. Heritage, which would like insurance coverage to be portable, supports tax breaks for those who buy their own insurance.

Republicans, who will take control of the House of Representatives in January and who also made inroads in the Senate, have made scrapping the health-care reform bill -- which they call Obamacare -- one of their top priorities.

"I have never seen anything quite like his in my lifetime," Moffit says.

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I think the second paragraph contains a TYPO. It should be 40.3 americans w/o insurance in 2008.

December 03 2010 at 5:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Frankly, I grow weary of the superficial sloganeering from both sides of the political spectrum...Just as I am certain that there are no quick fixes for anything (Health Care in particular), I am likewise certain that there are valid arguments that can be proffered by Republican and Democrat, conservative and liberal, Like most matters of government, however, political leaders of all stripes must first agree that Healthcare is an appropriate area for government action (or some might say intervention). To do otherwise produces needless blather and rancor. We all need to act like responsible adults...those that come after deserve nothing less...

December 03 2010 at 8:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

goodby to obama.s healthcare program.had he been smarter and had stopped this outscourcing of jobs then people would have had healthcare,they would have been able to pay their mortgage,s,and they probably been able to buy from small business,s. but all this is is big business escaping regulations and taxes.this is the selling out of america by the new world order and robbing our nations wealth.if you really want to hurt them then dont buy anything from china.and yes its in the interest that american have jobs and our national defense.remember they want our people to buy their they want to cut the military and if you think we will be able to handle north korea just wait we will have a hollow military and they will not be able to respond to anything.

December 03 2010 at 6:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

what ever gov man gets involved in, fails

December 03 2010 at 5:36 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dterraman's comment

If that were true we wouldn't need government? How simplistic. Failing to set priorities and then organize and fund properly frequently leads to suboptimal performance. Still, think hard and maybe you can come up with some successes. WWII? End of the Soviet Union? Space program? Government funded health research? The list will differ for each of us but let's be a little more realistic. Maybe as part of that realism we could either cut spending or raise taxes in order to balance our budget?

December 03 2010 at 7:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What we need is a law that requires people to buy insurance, that would solve this problem, oh wait...

December 03 2010 at 3:06 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Fewer Americans have a reason to live.

December 03 2010 at 2:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

So many people defend Health Insurance corporations like they have done some kind of favor for them. Give them any reason not to pay a bill, try to get a procedure they don't want to pay for or they decide is experimental. The health care insurance companys are the death panel don't you poeple get it. They demonize any threat to their profits making most people believe they are looking out for us. Wake up. They have one goal and your well being is not it. The entire concept that healthcare should be managed by corporations whose goal is profit is insane thats why medicare is so much cheaper to run than care for the rest of us. And thats why insurance companies demonize the public option it takes profit out of the picture and pays mostly for healthcare and very little in administrative cost. But just keep defending those multi million dollar corporations because they really care about you.

December 03 2010 at 1:45 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to deedoda1619's comment

i agree all this is is big business and privizating you see how healthcare has gone up .we were all led to believe healthcare would be cheaper and you could keep your healthcare.if you think the deficit is high wait until everyone is given help to afford healthcare.but this is the new world order.

December 03 2010 at 6:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

We have the best healthcare system in the world, And Obama and the uniformed want to change it. We have the best system in the world, And Obama wants to change it. Obamacare wants to tell people They Have to have Healthcare, you have no choice or just go to jail. (THE IRS IS THE ONLY COLLECTION AGENCY IN AMERICA THAT IF YOU DONT PAY YOU GO TO JAIL) Why would anyone pay their own healthcare now, just let the govt pay for it. All of those people who have "decided" they can't afford healthcare, (but can afford a BMW) will now get it paid for by the American people. Great system Big O. 14 Trillion in debt. The next election can't come fast enough to get rid of this insanity.

December 03 2010 at 12:59 AM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply

The American puplic are a bunch of sheep, led my a bias right wing media. There are wonderful models of good health care systems all over the world, that give great service, their citizens live longer and they do it had less then half the cost of what we pay in this country. The health care debate (if you want to call it that) is fueled my health insurance companies, who make millions, pay off legislators and the media for profits, they don't care about you, they don't care about our country, they care only about money.

December 03 2010 at 12:28 AM Report abuse +10 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to leroymart's comment

"led by a bias right wing media" like who? MSNBC? CBS? ABC? NBC? NYTimes....yep they are leading us alright down the path to a national system that is so great in Canada that they come here for health care. I lived under these great systems - broke my arm as a child and by the time the doctor could see me they had to rebreak it to set it! Nope I will take our system any day over englands, canadas, most of Europes, New Zealands, Australias....

December 03 2010 at 6:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bill griffis

i hera no one complaining about foreign aid,senddng all those medical supplies to nations who hate our guts and want to destroye are way of f life

December 02 2010 at 11:59 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply