Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2012

By Carmen DeNavas-Walt, Bernadette D. Proctor, Jessica C. Smith
United States Census Bureau, September 2013

Highlights

• In 2012, the percentage of people without health insurance decreased to 15.4 percent from 15.7 percent in 2011. The number of uninsured people in 2012 was not statistically different from 2011, at 48.0 million.

• Both the percentage and number of people with health insurance increased in 2012 to 84.6 percent and 263.2 million, up from 84.3 percent and 260.2 million in 2011.

• The percentage of people covered by private health insurance in 2012 was not statistically different from 2011, at 63.9 percent. This is the second consecutive year that the percentage of people covered by private health insurance was not statistically different from the previous year’s estimate. The number of people covered by private health insurance increased in 2012 to 198.8 million, up from 197.3 million in 2011.

• The percentage and number of people covered by government health insurance increased to 32.6 percent and 101.5 million in 2012 from 32.2 percent and 99.5 million in 2011.

• The percentage and number of people covered by employment-based health insurance in 2012 were not statistically different from 2011, at 54.9 percent and 170.9 million.

• The percentage and number of people covered by Medicaid in 2012 were not statistically different from 2011, at 16.4 percent and 50.9 million. The percentage and number of people covered by Medicare increased in 2012 to 15.7 percent and 48.9 million, from 15.2 percent and 46.9 million in 2011.

• Since 2009, Medicaid has covered more people than Medicare.

• In 2012, the percentage and number of uninsured children under age 18 decreased to 8.9 percent and 6.6 million, down from 9.4 percent and 7.0 million in 2011. In 2012, the uninsured rate for children in poverty, 12.9 percent, was higher than the uninsured rate for children not in poverty, 7.7 percent.

• The rate and number of uninsured non-Hispanic Whites in 2012 were not statistically different from 2011, at 11.1 percent and 21.6 million. The rate and the number of uninsured Blacks in 2012 were also not statistically different from 2011, at 19.0 percent and 7.6 million.

• The percentage of uninsured Hispanics decreased in 2012 to 29.1 percent, down from 30.1 percent in 2011. The number of uninsured Hispanics in 2012 was not statistically different from 2011, at 15.5 million.

http://www.census.gov/prod/2013pubs/p60-245.pdf

Supporters of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) have been touting the improvement in our health care system since the legislation was signed into law three years ago. Well, that improvement does not apply to the numbers remaining uninsured since the minimal gains have been offset by losses, and so we still have 48 million people uninsured. That doesn’t even consider all of the injustices that remain in the maldistribution of coverage.

Of course, next year’s numbers should be different. The introduction of state health insurance exchanges with government subsidies to help purchase plans and pay medical bills, plus the expansion in the Medicaid program, will reduce the numbers of uninsured. However, when Obamacare is fully implemented, the CBO estimates that 31 million people will remain uninsured. That’s a reduction of only slightly over one-third of today’s 48 million – hardly a success story for health care reform that was supposed to provide everyone with some form of insurance coverage.

If we had a single payer improved-Medicare-for-all program, the number of uninsured would not be 48 million, it would not be 31 million, it would be zero!

(The full Census Bureau report also includes unsettling income and poverty data. Although PNHP’s activism is limited to health care, there is so much more that needs to be done. All Americans need to make social justice our leading national priority.)

Read PNHP’s press release for a brief analysis of the health insurance implications of today’s Census Bureau report:

‘Stronger medicine than Obamacare needed to end uninsured crisis': health expert

http://www.pnhp.org/news/2013/september/stronger-medicine-than-obamacare…