Posts Tagged ‘Census’

Don McCanne, MD: New Census Bureau numbers on the uninsured

September 19th, 2012

Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2011

By Carmen DeNavas-Walt, Bernadette D. Proctor, Jessica C. Smith

United States Census Bureau, September 2012

Health Insurance Coverage – 2011

48.6 million or 15.7% – people without health insurance
• 7.0 million – children under 18 uninsured

193.7 million or 63.9% – people covered by private health insurance
• 170.1 million or 55.1% – people covered by employment-based insurance

99.5 million or 32.2% – people covered by government health insurance
• 50.8 million or 16.5% – people covered by Medicaid
• 46.9 million or 15.2% – people covered by Medicare


9.5 million or 11.8% – families living in poverty
• 31.2% – families with a female householder living in poverty

Income Inequality

Income inequality also increased between 2010 and 2011 when measured by shares of aggregate household income received by quintiles. The aggregate share of income declined for the middle and fourth quintiles. The share of aggregate income increased 1.6 percent for the highest quintile and within the highest quintile, the share of aggregate income for the top 5 percent increased 4.9 percent. The changes in the shares of aggregate income for the lowest two quintiles were not statistically significant.


By Don McCanne, MD

The numbers of uninsured decreased from 50.0 million in 2010 to 48.6 million in 2011. That might be good news for the net 1.4 million newly insured, but it is terrible news for the 48.6 million who remain without health insurance.

These numbers, of course, are transitional since new private coverage through the state insurance exchanges and the greater expansion of coverage under Medicaid will not take place until 2014. Even then, the new coverage will be either with private underinsurance plans (low actuarial value and inadequate subsidies) or with the chronically underfunded Medicaid program, with even greater impairment of health care access likely. Worse, 30 million will still have no coverage at all (CBO).

Perhaps even more shocking is that 31.2% of families with a female householder live in poverty – right here in the United States!

And income inequality? The aggregate share of household income has decreased for the middle and fourth quintiles. The middle class is being wiped out!

Of course we knew all this. So why aren’t we doing something about it? Howling in the wind doesn’t seem to be getting us very far.

Re-posted with permission from

PNHP: New Census Figures on Uninsured Show Urgent Need for National Health Care

September 14th, 2011

Number of uninsured climbs to highest figure since passage of Medicare, Medicaid
50 million uninsured shows urgency of enacting single-payer Medicare for all: national doctors group

Official estimates by the Census Bureau showing an increase of about 1 million in the number of Americans without health insurance in 2010 – to a 45-year high of 49.9 million persons, or 16.3 percent of the population, under the bureau’s revised calculation method – underscore the urgency of going beyond the Obama administration’s federal health law and swiftly implementing a single-payer, improved Medicare-for-all program, spokespersons for Physicians for a National Health Program said today.

Employment-based coverage continued to decline. The bureau said 55.3 percent of Americans were covered by employment-based plans in 2010, down from 56.1 percent in 2009. It was the eleventh consecutive year of decline, from 64.2 percent in 2000.

Read the rest of the article here.

Don McCanne, MD: Incomes and health costs

October 6th, 2010

Census Bureau Releases 2009 American Community Survey Data

U.S. Census Bureau
September 28, 2010

Median Household Income

Real median household income in the United States fell between 2008 and 2009 — decreasing by 2.9 percent from $51,726 to $50,221.


U.S. Health Care Cost Rate Increases Reach Highest Levels in Five Years, According to New Data from Hewitt Associates

September 27, 2010

According to Hewitt’s analysis, the average total health care premium per employee for large companies will be $9,821 in 2011, up from $9,028 in 2010. The amount employees will be asked to contribute toward this cost is $2,209, or 22.5 percent of the total health care premium. This is up 12.4 percent from 2010, when employees contributed $1,966, or 21.8 percent of the total health care premium. Average employee out-of-pocket costs, such as copayments, coinsurance and deductibles, are expected to be $2,177 in 2011—a 12.5 percent increase from 2010 ($1,934). These projections mean that in a decade, total health care premiums will have more than doubled, from $4,083 in 2001 to $9,821 in 2011. Employees’ share of medical costs—including employee contributions and out-of-pocket costs—will have more than tripled, from $1,229 in 2001 to $4,386 in 2011.


Milliman Medical Index

The annual Milliman Medical Index (MMI) reports total annual medical spending for a typical American family of four covered by an employer-sponsored preferred provider organization (PPO) program. The MMI represents the total cost of payments to healthcare providers, and excludes the non-medical administrative component of health plan premiums.

The total 2010 medical cost for a typical American family of four is $18,074.


By Don McCanne, MD

Think about this. Median household income is now back down to $50,000. The average cost of health care for a family of four with an employer-sponsored PPO plan is $18,000. Premiums for employer-sponsored plans have doubled in the last decade, while the employees’ spending on health care has tripled!

The Patient Protection and Accountable Care Act (PPACA) was specifically designed to leave the large market of employer-sponsored private health plans intact – the “you can keep the insurance you have…” strategy for reform. Most individuals and families will see little change as a result of PPACA since they will continue to receive their insurance coverage through their employment.

Very specifically, employees of larger companies will not see premium subsidies like for those who purchase plans in the state exchanges, nor will they see the subsidies for out-of-pocket expenses. The architects of PPACA decided that employer contributions to the premiums would obviate the need for subsidies – glibly suppressing the fact that employer contributions are actually paid by the employees in the form of forgone wage increases.

The health care financing structure of PPACA is an unmitigated disaster. For most families, health care costs will encroach at increasing percentages on their budgets for basic essentials such as housing, food, and transportation, not to mention education, retirement plans, and other discretionary expenses. The $18,000 in average health care costs for a family of four is already over one-third of the median household income of $50,000.

We desperately need to enact policies that will bring costs under control while establishing an equitable method of financing that makes health care affordable for everyone. PPACA doesn’t even come close. What will work is a single-payer national health program – an improved Medicare that includes everyone.

(Why aren’t people talking about this? Why is all of the media coverage about the tweaks to our fragmented, dysfunctional system – tweaks that will never get us there? Doesn’t anyone care?)

Reprinted with permission from