Uninsured rate rises for first time since 2009

U.S. poverty rate fell to lowest since 2001 while uninsured rate rose in 2018, Census says

U.S. poverty rate fell to lowest since 2001 while uninsured rate rose in 2018, Census says

The share of people who had no health insurance also rose for the first time in about a decade, even as workers' median earnings increased 3.4% and an additional 2.3 million people became full-time, year-round workers.

Median household income in the U.S. stalled in 2018, even as median earnings rose and the poverty rate fell to its lowest level in almost two decades, according to new data released by the U.S. Census Bureau. The proportion of households headed by women that were poor fell to a record low.

The Oklahoma Policy Institute estimates Medicaid expansion, which would raise the income threshold for eligibility for the state-federal health insurance program, would reduce the number of uninsured in the state by 200,000.

However, after adjusting for changes to the agency's data collection and analysis methods, Renwick said the median household income in 2018 was "not statistically different from either 2007, the year before the most recent recession, or 1999, which is (the) peak income year in our historical timesets".

The median US household earned $63,200 past year, meaning half of the families in the country earned more than this amount and half earned less.

That's nearly a 2 million increase from 2017, when 7.9 percent of the population, or about 25.6 million people, were uninsured.

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In addition, the percentage of uninsured children under the age of 19 fell by 0.6 percentage points.

Though the increase in the number of uninsured Americans past year was modest, it could be a turning point, the first real sign that coverage gains under Obama could be at least partly reversed. This year, the number of uninsured could rise again.

"In general, the uninsured rate in states that expanded Medicaid eligibility prior to January 1, 2018, was lower than in states that did not expand eligibility", the Census Bureau report released Tuesday states.

House Majority Floor Leader Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma City, said Tuesday that a goal of the legislative working group on health care is to reduce the ranks of the uninsured. Bernie Sanders' call for a government-run system to cover everyone and former Vice President Joe Biden's idea for expanding Obama's law and adding a government plan open to virtually anyone.

Trump spent most of his first year in office unsuccessfully trying to get a Republican Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Trump also removed a subsidy for insurers, thereby triggering a jump in premiums. That uptick was largely driven by a decline in public health coverage for low-income people, with Medicaid enrollment falling 0.7 percentage points to 17.9% in 2018.

The Trump administration has also rolled out some regulatory changes of its own meant to expand coverage.

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