U.S. Census: 45.7 million Americans uninsured

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Latest U.S. Census Estimates Show 45.7 Million Americans Are Uninsured

Consumers Union’s Cover America Tour Puts A Face on Uninsured
and Others Struggling to Afford the Health Care They Need

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Census Bureau released a report today that estimates that 45.7 million Americans were uninsured in 2007 compared to 47 million in 2006. While the report shows a slight drop in the number of uninsured, it underscores the urgent need to expand access to health coverage, according to Consumers Union, nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports.
“It’s important to remember that there are real people and families behind these statistics,” said DeAnn Friedholm, Health Reform Director for Consumers Union. “The new census figures are a reminder of how important it is to ensure that all Americans have access to affordable health coverage.”
Consumers Union’s Cover America Tour has been traveling across the country this summer chronicling the challenges that Americans face getting affordable, high quality health coverage. The group has collected nearly 4,000 stories from Americans across the country about their health care experiences. The Cover America Tour is posting videos of people talking about the difficulties they are experiencing, including those who are uninsured at: www.CoverAmericaTour.org.
The drop in the number of uninsured is due, in part, by the fact that more people were covered by government health insurance programs during this time. The U.S. Census report found that more people were covered by government health insurance programs — increasing from 27 percent in 2006 to 27.8 percent in 2007. During this period, the number of people covered by government health insurance increased to 83 million up from 80.3 million in 2006. At the same time, the percentage of people covered by employer-sponsored health insurance coverage decreased to 59.3 percent in 2007 from 59.7 percent in 2006. These numbers do not reflect the downturn of the economy in 2008.
“Nearly 46 million Americans have no health coverage and remain vulnerable to financial disaster if a serious illness or accident strikes,” said Adrienne Hahn, Senior Attorney/Program Manager for Consumers Union. “This report shows how critical Medicaid, Medicare, and SCHIP are in providing a safety net to Americans who can’t afford health coverage, especially during tough economic times.”
DeAnn Friedholm – 914-378-2743
Adrienne Hahn – 202-462-6262