Number of U.S. Uninsured Increases, More Minorities Uninsured, Census Report Says
The number of uninsured people in the U.S. increased from 44.8 million in 2005 to 47 million in 2006, with minorities being among those hardest hit, a new Census Bureau report says, Dow Jones reports. According to the report, the percentage of the population without health insurance rose from 15.3% in 2005 to 15.8% in 2006.
The report also found that:
- The proportion of blacks without health insurance rose from 19% in 2005 to 20.5% in 2006;
- The proportion of Hispanics without health insurance rose from 32.3% in 2005 to 34.1% in 2006;
- The rate of whites without health insurance remained static at 10.8% (Gerencher, Dow Jones, 8/29);
- Compared with white children, black children were twice as likely and Hispanic children were three times as likely to be uninsured; and
- Texas, New Mexico and Florida -- states with large populations of new immigrants -- had the highest number of uninsured residents (Dorschner, Miami Herald, 8/29).
Robert Greenstein, executive director of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, said the overall increase in the number of the uninsured is related to rising health costs and declining numbers of employers who offer workers health insurance. According to Dow Jones, minorities were disproportionately affected by declining job-based health insurance (Dow Jones, 8/29). According to the Census report, the percentage of people with employer-sponsored health coverage dropped from 60.2% in 2005 to 59.7% in 2006. At the same time, the proportion of people covered by public health insurance programs declined from 27.3% to 27% (Miami Herald, 8/29).
Jane Delgado, president of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health, said because many Hispanics work, "they don't qualify for public programs, but at the same time, the cost of health insurance is too expensive to pay for with their income" (Dow Jones, 8/29).
The report is available online.
More extensive coverage of the new Census figures is available on the Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report. This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.