Report: 59 Million Americans Lack Health Care


health-care-congressMore than 59 million Americans had no health insurance for at least part of 2010, an increase of 4 million from the previous year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reported Tuesday. While the worsening¬†economic conditions did have a direct impact on the number of Americans with coverage, the situation also meant that a far greater number of Americans are forgoing needed medical care because of costs.”Both adults and kids lost private coverage over the past decade,” Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the C.D.C., said at a news conference, according to the Reuters news agency.

There was one nugget of good news in the report: While from 2008 to 2009, the number of adults aged 18 to 64 years without insurance for at least part of the year increased 5.7 percent (from 46.0 million to 48.6 million,) the number of children less than 17 years old without coverage for at least part of the year decreased 5.0 percent, (from 10.0 million to 9.5 million.)

All these figures are likely to throw gasoline on the fire of the public health care debate awaiting next year’s Congress.

Republican House Speaker-in-waiting John Boehner has said he believes Republicans were elected in order to repeal sweeping health reforms passed last year that were in part aimed at finding coverage for the uninsured. One of the ways Republicans say they plan on addressing healthcare reforms is by defunding the reform’s initiatives. Regardless, many predict political gridlock during the next two year in implementing health reforms.

Another important aspect of the debate that is likely to come up again is the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, the under 18 years old version of Medicaid. Only 41 Republicans voted for the 2009 expansion of the program, and President George Bush vetoed two previous attempts at extending federal health coverage to more American children.

“As private insurance coverage fell, the safety net protected children, but did not adequately protect adults,” Frieden said.

Nine percent of adults lost private insurance, and public insurance picked up just 5 percent of them, the CDC said. Frieden said 22 percent of adults aged 18 to 64 are uninsured.

The CDC analyzed data from the National Health Interview Survey or NHIS for 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009 and the first quarter of 2010 for its report. One of the many discoveries of this in-person survey conducted by the CDC was the shifting makeup of the uninsured population of America.

“The first myth is that it’s only the poor who are uninsured,” Friden said. “In fact, half of the uninsured are over the poverty level and one in three adults under 65 in the middle income range–defined arbitrarily here between $44,000 and $65,000 a year for a family of four–were uninsured at some point in the year.”



  1. So, folks, that is 1/5 of the country without insurance. And that does not account for the people who can’t afford insurance but are on some form of Medicaid.
    I voted Republican — I don’t like much of what the Democrats have done — but they better not think that health care is a “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” kind of affair.

  2. It is appalling that the United States – the richest country ever known in the history of the world – cannot offer proper health insurance to all if its inhabitants. This is a shanda mamash.

    Meanwhile, over here in poor and backward Europe, not a single person lacks for all health services free at the point of use.

  3. Last I heard, some 30 million Americans could not afford private health insurance and did not qualify for any other coverage such as Medicare, Medicaid, VA or the like. The 20 million difference are people who could afford private insurance or do qualify for an existing program but who either choose not to enroll or are unaware of their eligibility

  4. I am a member of the middle class, and I don’t have health insurance because I am a cancer survivor and have been denied coverage by every company I have applied to. The company that I am employed by does not have a health care plan, and my husband’s doesn’t either. This has been going on for 2 years.