KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Reading Between The Lines: As Poor Get Poorer, Their Health Is At Greater Risk

In the wake of this week's Census Bureau report, news outlets report that the dire data about the percentage of Americans living in poverty could feed the current deficit-reduction discussions in Congress.

The New York Times: Poor Are Still Getting Poorer, But Downturn's Punch Varies, Census Data Show
The report, an annual gauge of prosperity and pain, is sure to be cited in coming months as lawmakers make difficult decisions about how to balance the competing goals of cutting deficits and preserving safety nets. … Such data is likely to feed longstanding debates about generational equity, since the largest portion of safety net spending goes to those 65 and older, through Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid (DeParle and Tavernise, 9/15).

Los Angeles Times: As U.S. Poverty Rates Climb, So May Health Woes For The Poor
Poverty levels are up in the U.S., the Census Bureau reports, with the percentage of Americans living in poverty at its highest point since 1993. That will likely translate into increasing health issues for those people, since being poor seems inexorably linked to poor health (Stein, 9/14).

Also, coverage of the Census report includes local angles -

The Associated Press/Times-Picayune: No Health Insurance For 886,000 In Louisiana, 618,000 In Mississippi
Life is getting even harder in the nation's poorest states. New census data show those states are Mississippi and Louisiana, with about one in five residents living in poverty and about the same percentage without health insurance. ... "A lack of insurance definitely decreases access to health care," said Dr. Mary Currier, Mississippi State Health Officer. ... Mississippi has fewer doctors per capita than any other state, higher infant mortality and more chronic disease, Currier said (9/14). 

The Connecticut Mirror: Slight Increase In Uninsured In 2010
Because the state-level survey sizes are small, Connecticut Voices for Children recommends using two-year estimates to evaluate state trends. The think tank found that the percentage of Connecticut residents under 65 without health insurance rose from 10.3 percent in 2007-2008 to 12.5 percent in 2009-2010. The number of uninsured children also rose, but it was not statistically significant (Levin Becker, 9/14). 

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