Census Bureau: High Unemployment Results In Huge Increase Of Uninsured To 50.7 Million In 2009
"There are three key things to keep in mind about today's Census Bureau report showing that the number of uninsured Americans rose enormously to 50.7 million in 2009: First, as people lose jobs, they also lose health coverage; second, safety net programs like Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) picked up the slack and averted much larger coverage losses; and third, as a result of the enacted health reform legislation, help is on the way in 2010.
"Since most people continue to receive their health coverage through a family member's employment, the loss of jobs had a significant impact on the number of uninsured Americans. The economic downturn exacerbated the steady erosion over the past decade in the number of people with job-based health coverage-erosion caused by the unaffordable costs of health care for America's businesses.
"In 2009, 55.8 percent of Americans had job-based health coverage, compared to 64.2 percent that had such coverage in 2000.
"Public health programs, especially Medicaid and CHIP, played a key safety net role in protecting people losing job-based and other private health insurance. The number of people who received Medicaid or CHIP coverage grew from 42.6 million in 2008 to 47.8 million in 2009. Moreover, health coverage among America's children did not diminish despite increases in children's poverty, a testament to the effectiveness of Medicaid and CHIP.
"Thankfully, more help is on the way. Among the health reform provisions that will be implemented in 2010 are the following: young adults under age 26 will be allowed to obtain health coverage through their parents' policies; children with pre-existing conditions will no longer be denied health coverage by insurance companies; and adults with pre-existing conditions will be able to secure health coverage through newly established and larger high-risk pools."
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