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CDC Reports 50 Million Americans Uninsured

November 10, 2010

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued findings from its analysis of the National Health Interview Survey for 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and the first quarter of 2010, according to a Reuters report on November 10. The survey covered 90,000 individuals from 35,000 households. The findings revealed that 3 million more people "went for a year or more with no health insurance" in the first quarter of 2010 than in 2008, and that half of the uninsured were above the poverty level. One in three adults under 65 who made between $44,000 and $65,000 a year, the "middle income range," were uninsured at some point during the year. Most people over age 64 have "universal coverage, thanks to Medicare," but older adults who skip doctor's visits because they lack insurance "are sicker when they reach 65," which "further taxes Medicare." The silver lining: "Public programs such as Medicaid and State Children's Health Insurance Program have reduced the number of children without medical insurance from ten million two years ago to 8.7 million today."

The growing number of people without coverage "meant more people with chronic illnesses such as diabetes and asthma were skipping or postponing care, increasing the likelihood of costly complications." According to the report, 40 percent of Americans have one or more chronic conditions, including HIV.

As more and more insured Americans find they can't afford the increased co-pays, deductibles, and coinsurance that maintaining their health requires, chances are that more will be added to the ranks of those whose health is declining in direct proportion to the rise in insurance company profits. According to a report in The American Journal of Public Health, 45,000 people die every year because of lack of health insurance.

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