Politico Pro Reports:
The Obama administration says new census data prove that the health reform law is working despite the fact that the number of Americans without insurance went up slightly last year.
The number of uninsured increased by 900,000 between 2009 and 2010 but the percentage didn’t go up by a statistically significant amount, according to new figures released Tuesday by the Census Bureau.
The report “Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States” found that 16.3 percent of Americans were uninsured in 2010, up from 16.1 percent in 2009. The uninsured rate for children also held steady at 9.8 percent, though children in poverty were more than 50 percent more likely to be uninsured than American children as a whole.
The Obama administration found some good news in this data. In a blog post, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius noted that the report found a 2.1 point increase in insurance coverage among 18 to 24 year olds with about 500,000 young adults gaining insurance.
Sebelius attributed the increase to the health reform law’s provision allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26.
This report, she wrote, “shows that the Affordable Care Act is working.”
The percent of Americans covered by employer insurance fell from 56.1 percent in 2009 to 55.3 percent in 2010. Government health programs covered 31 percent of Americans in 2010, up four-tenths of a percentage point since 2009 the fourth year in a row that government insurance has increased.
Medicaid covers 15.9 percent of Americans, essentially the same share it covered in 2009.
The uninsurance rate held relatively steady even as median household income declined and the poverty rate increased. Median income fell in 2010 by 2.3 percent, to $49,445, and the poverty rate rose just under 1 point, to 15.1 percent.
This is the third consecutive year that the poverty rate has risen, making 2010 the year with the highest poverty rate since 1993.