KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Private Health Insurance Coverage At 50-Year-Low, According to CDC

The percentage of Americans with private health insurance is at its lowest level in 50 years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday, according to The Associated Press.

"About 65 percent of non-elderly Americans had private insurance in 2008, down from 67 percent the year before, according to preliminary data released Wednesday by the (CDC)."

"In the 1970s and early 1980s, nearly 80 percent of Americans had private coverage, according to CDC officials.

"Some experts blamed the faltering economy and corporate decisions to raise health insurance premiums - or do away with employee coverage - as the main drivers of the recent data. They say coverage statistics for 2009 may look even worse." Public coverage of adults is rising in some states because of expanding Medicaid eligibility. The CDC estimates - through a survey - that 44 million Americans were uninsured last year, about the same for other recent years.

"The CDC also reported on insurance coverage in the 20 largest states, and found the percent of uninsured people ranged from 3 percent in Massachusetts to 23 percent in Texas. Lack of health insurance was greatest in the South and West" (Stobbe, 7/1).

All Headline News reports: "The report shows that the number of uninsured children has decreased significantly - almost 14 percent to 8.9 percent - from 1997 to 2008. More than 34 percent of the nation's children have public health coverage.

The CDC also released a second report on health insurance that examined coverage trends from 1959 to 2007. Among its chief findings was that the number of people under 65 with no coverage has increased by more than 20 percent since its lowest point in 1978" (Goodhue, 7/2).

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