Thursday, November 1, 2007
What a surprise and a not-so-nice news story to start November - Reuters reports:
The number of Americans lacking health insurance rose by nearly 8.6 million to 47 million from 2000 to 2006, with children and workers from every income level losing coverage, a new report said on Thursday. The increase was "driven primarily by the continued erosion in employer-provided health insurance," said the report by the Washington, D.C.-based Economic Policy Institute.
In 2006, 2.3 million fewer Americans received health benefits from their employers than in 2000, the report said, noting the decline does not take the population increase into account. Nearly 60 percent of the nation's children are covered by the insurance provided by their parents' employers, but 3.4 million fewer children had benefits in 2006 compared with 2000.
"Public health insurance is no longer offsetting these losses," said the report by the nonpartisan think-tank. For jobholders, this was the sixth straight year of declines in health insurance coverage. The rate fell to just below 71 percent from nearly 75 percent in 2000. "No category of workers was insulated from loss of coverage," as even workers whose earnings placed them in the top quintile saw coverage rates fall, the report said.
More men lost employer-provided health benefits than women. For men, the rate fell by almost 5 percentage points in the six-year period to 69 percent. For women, the rate fell just under 3 percentage points to nearly 73 percent.