The Biggest Decline in Uninsured Americans Since 1999

Tri-City Health Center (TCHC) has sent periodic emails regarding cuts to various health and human service programs. Especially with the balancing of the new fiscal budget, these programs were the first ones thrown on the chopping block.

On the bright side, TCHC is excited to share that the number of Americans without health insurance dropped for the first time since 2007- the biggest decline we have experienced since 1999. The government census report found the rate dropped from 16.3% to 15.7%, with 48.6 million uninsured in 2011 compared to 49.9 million uninsured in the previous year.

According to Census Officials, The Declined Uninsured Rate is Due to Two Major Factors:

1)    More Americans have enrolled in government programs such as Medicaid, the state-federal health program for individuals and families with low income and resources.

2)    The percentage of people with private coverage has not declined for the first time in a decade.

Who is Receiving More Health Coverage?

The biggest decline of uninsured was among individuals aged 19 to 25, with a drop of 29.8% in 2010 to 27.7% in 2011. This is the second consecutive year that this age bracket experienced a decline of at least 2 percent of uninsured.

Many health experts give credit to this positive drop in uninsured to the provision in the federal health law that took effect in September 2010, which allowed individuals 26 and younger to stay on their families’ healthcare plans

How Can We Advocate for More Healthcare Coverage?

“Romney said on NBC’s Meet the Press that he likes some parts of the health law, including the provision allowing parents to keep their children on their health insurance plans up to age 26. But his campaign later clarified that he would not propose a “federal mandate” that insurance plans allow parents to keep children on their plans up to age 26, instead leaving it up to the private market,” noted Phil Galewitz, Kaiser Health News Staff Writer.

The Obama administration reported that the September 2010 provision has made it possible for 3 million people to gain healthcare coverage. The Affordable Care Act anticipates to eventually providing healthcare coverage to as much as 30 million people who are currently uninsured.

Healthcare is on top of the agenda for this 2012 presidential election. The Affordable Care Act has already helped many individuals 26 and younger receive or maintain their healthcare and it is expected to help another 30 million individuals gain access to healthcare. (See our previous newsletters for more information on the Affordable Care Act)

Stay tuned for more information at on how you can get involved and help us advocate for individuals and families that are otherwise unable to do so. Together, we can strengthen our safety net to face these challenges head on.

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