KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Report Estimates How Many Would Gain Coverage Under Senate Health Bill

Families USA analyzed Congressional Budget Office data to estimate how many people would gain health insurance coverage if the Senate bill passes. Some local news outlets report on how their state would be affected.

Birmingham Business Journal: "The current U.S. Senate health reform bill would boost Alabama's insured by 374,000 people in the next decade, according to a health care advocacy group. ... In 2007 and 2008, the average number of uninsured in Alabama was 555,000, but the total will rise to 652,000 if the bill fails to pass, Families USA said. Nationally, the number of uninsured will reach 54 million in 2019 in the absence of comprehensive health insurance reform, the report said. ... The current bill would extend Medicaid coverage to adults with incomes less than 133 percent of the poverty level (about $29,330 for a family of four) regardless of whether they have children" (DeButts, 12/16). 

The Times-Picayune: "An estimated 554,000 Louisiana residents would gain health insurance coverage by 2019 under the bill being debated by the U.S. Senate, according to figures released Wednesday by a left-leaning advocacy group. ... About 823,000 people in Louisiana were uninsured in 2007-08 ... the report says an estimated 31 million of America's 46 million uninsured people would get health coverage through the massive overhaul measure, which would expand the Medicaid program, subsidize private insurance policies for some low- to moderate-income workers and bar insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions." 

"Louisiana's top health-care official said he isn't sure how many people would be covered under the Senate bill because it changes so often. 'I'm very frustrated by the lack of transparency (in the bill), and the resulting inability of my staff to give me numbers I can count on,' state Health and Hospitals Secretary Alan Levine said in an e-mail exchange. Levine in the past has complained that the health-care bills would saddle the state with new costs in the Medicaid program" (Moller, 12/16).

West Virginia Public Broadcasting reports that the study also finds: "Health reform could insure additional 177,000 West Virginians. ... According to the report, currently there are more than 250 thousand uninsured people in West Virginia" (Adduchio, 12/16).

Meanwhile, according to HealthDay: "In the first six months of this year, 45.4 million Americans of all ages -- or 15.1 percent of the population -- had no health insurance, according to new National Health Interview Survey statistics released Wednesday. In addition, 58.4 million (19.4 percent) people of all ages had been uninsured for at least part of the year prior to the interview, and 31.9 million (10.6 percent) had been uninsured for more than a year at the time of interview, according to a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics. The findings are from data analyses of almost 32,700 respondents. ... Lack of health insurance coverage was highest in the South and West" (12/16).

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