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Census Bureau - 33 million uninsured is good news?

Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2014

By Jessica C. Smith and Carla Medalia
U.S. Census Bureau, September 2015

• The uninsured rate decreased between 2013 and 2014 by 2.9 percentage points. In 2014, the percentage of people without health insurance coverage for the entire calendar year was 10.4 percent, or 33.0 million, lower than the rate and number of uninsured in 2013 (13.3 percent or 41.8 million).

• The percentage of people with health insurance coverage for all or part of 2014 was 89.6 percent, higher than the rate in 2013 (86.7 percent).

• Between 2013 and 2014, the increase in the percentage of the population covered by health insurance was due to an increase in the rates of both private and government coverage. The rate of private coverage increased by 1.8 percentage points to 66.0 percent in 2014 (up from 64.1 percent in 2013), and the government coverage rate increased by 2.0 percentage points to 36.5 percent (up from 34.6 percent in 2013).

• Between 2013 and 2014, the greatest changes in coverage rates were the increases in direct-purchase health insurance and Medicaid. The largest percentage-point change in coverage was for direct-purchase, which increased by 3.2 percentage points to cover 14.6 percent of people for some or all of 2014 (up from 11.4 percent in 2013). The percentage of people with Medicaid coverage during all or part of the year increased by 2.0 percentage points to 19.5 percent in 2014 (compared with 17.5 percent in 2013).

http://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2015/demo/...

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More Americans gain health coverage, but many can’t afford to use it: doctors group

Physicians for a National Health Program, September 16, 2015

“The Census Bureau’s official estimate that 33 million Americans lacked health insurance in 2014 reflects a significant and welcome drop from the 42 million it reported as uninsured in 2013,” said Dr. Robert Zarr, president of Physicians for a National Health Program, today. “But the number of people who remain without coverage is still intolerably high. And the Census Bureau report leaves entirely unmentioned the millions of people who have health insurance but who can’t afford to use it because of high deductibles and copays.”

“How is it possible that in 2015 one of the richest countries in the world still does not guarantee every resident the right to health care?” Zarr continued. “This question would not be necessary if we had a health care system worthy of the name – single-payer national health insurance, or an improved and expanded Medicare for All.”

http://www.pnhp.org/news/2015/september/more-americans-gain-health-coverage-but-many-can’t-afford-to-use-it-doctors-grou

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Comment:

By Don McCanne, MD

The good news in this annual Census Bureau report is that there were significant increases in the numbers insured as a result of implementation of the Affordable Care Act - primarily in direct-purchase due to the mandate and in expansion of the Medicaid program. The bad news is that 33 million remain uninsured and, though not in the Census report, tens of millions are under-insured.

Our current national policies will continue to leave about 30 million people without insurance, and financial hardship due to under-insurance is expected to increase. We can anticipate more unnecessary suffering, hardship, and premature deaths.

PNHP President Robert Zarr said it, “How is it possible that in 2015 one of the richest countries in the world still does not guarantee every resident the right to health care? This question would not be necessary if we had a health care system worthy of the name – single-payer national health insurance, or an improved and expanded Medicare for All.”