50 Million Uninsured

A recently released Census Bureau report paints an interesting picture regarding the tens of millions of Americans who are uninsured in this country. According to the data, 50 million Americans were uninsured in 2010, almost a million more than in 2009. TheAlliance for Health Reform, in partnership with the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, held a briefing exploring the characteristics of the current uninsured population and providing expert insight on the populations that represent the uninsured. While employer sponsored insurance continued to decline in 2010, one million young adults gained coverage and more people were enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP.

In addition, while the number of uninsured young adults decreased (likely due to coverage expansions under the Affordable Care Act), the number of uninsured children remained relatively unchanged. Aside from the small increases in Medicaid and CHIP coverage, over 7 million children were uninsured in 2010, with more than 64 percent of them residing in families with incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty level.

As the experts noted, the numbers point to a variety of conclusions: 1) the number of uninsured individuals continues to grow, 2) safety net programs appear to be working, 3) some individuals, mainly young adults, are beginning to reap some of the benefits of the ACA expansions.

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