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Friday, September 11, 2009

Poverty is Up, Median Income is Down, and Employer Based Health Insurance Continues to Trend Downward

The news on the number of people in poverty, median income, and the number of people who have lost employer based health insurance is not so good. Without public insurance programs and the stimulus package, the news would be even worse:

Poverty Rose, Median Income Declined, and Job-Based Health Insurance Continued to Weaken in 2008, by Arloc Sherman, Robert Greenstein, Danilo Trisi and Paul N. Van de Water, CBPP: Poverty increased, median household income fell, and the percentage of Americans with employer-based health coverage continued to decline in 2008, according to Census data for 2008 issued today.
The figures reflect the initial effects of the recession. Median household income declined 3.6 percent in 2008 after adjusting for inflation, the largest single-year decline on record, and reached its lowest point since 1997. The poverty rate rose to 13.2 percent, its highest level since 1997. The number of people in poverty hit 39.8 million, the highest level since 1960.
These data include only the early months of the recession. The figures for 2009, a year in which the economy has weakened further and unemployment has climbed substantially, will look considerably worse, and the figures will likely worsen again in 2010 if, as many economic forecasters expect, unemployment continues to rise in that year. (In the last two recessions, the unemployment rate continued rising for 15 to 19 months after the recession officially ended.)
Health Insurance Data  The overall percentage of people without health insurance edged up from 15.3 percent in 2002 to 15.4 percent in 2008, a change that was not statistically significant, while the number of people who are uninsured jumped by 682,000 (a change that was significant) and reached 46.3 million. The continuing decline in job-based health coverage, which has been falling since 2001, did not lead to an increase in the overall percentage of people without insurance because it was offset by an expansion of public insurance programs. ...
Poverty Expected to Rise Much More in 2009 But Would Be Worse Without Recovery Act  The worsening job situation since 2008 portends much higher poverty in 2009 and 2010. ...
While the increases in poverty in 2009 are likely to be large, they would have been much greater without the economic recovery legislation. A Center analysis issued on September 9 that examines the effects of seven recovery act provisions finds those provisions will keep an estimated 6.2 million Americans — including 2.4 million children — from falling into poverty and will reduce the severity of poverty for 33 million others.[2] These figures are conservative because they do not include the poverty-preventing effects of other recovery act provisions, such as increases in housing assistance and child care services, or the effects of the recovery package in preserving or creating jobs.
Income of Working-Age Households at Lowest Level in Years, Poverty at Highest ...
Employer-Provided Health Insurance Expected to Continue Dropping in 2009 and Beyond  Some 46.3 million U.S. residents lacked health insurance in 2008, an increase of 682,000 over the previous year and 6.6 million more than in 2001. ...
The percentage of people with employer-provided health insurance, the principal source of coverage for the non-elderly, has been trending downward since 2001 and is the leading contributor to the increase over time in the number of uninsured. ...
Employment-based coverage is likely to drop significantly in 2009, due to the loss of jobs. In the short term, some families losing their jobs and health insurance may become eligible for Medicaid or qualify for other assistance such as temporary COBRA subsidies for formerly employed workers, which the recovery act temporarily strengthened. But, the long-term decline in private coverage is likely to continue to drive up the number and percentage of uninsured.
The Congressional Budget Office projects that under current law, the number of uninsured will continue to rise and reach 54 million by 2019. The health reform bill currently moving through the House of Representatives, as well as health reform bills in the Senate, would seek to reverse the sizable increase in the number of uninsured people that has occurred in recent decades. ...

    Posted by on Friday, September 11, 2009 at 12:25 AM in Economics, Social Insurance | Permalink  Comments (65)

          


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