Leaving a Whole Lot of Americans Behind: Number of Uninsured Reaching Epidemic Proportions

| Wed Aug. 30, 2006 12:51 PM EDT

And the bad news keeps on coming. New census figures released yesterday show that 46.6 million Americans had no health insurance in 2005, 16%, or one in six people. That's more than the estimated number of people living with HIV (an estimated 42.6 million), and we call that a pandemic.

Of those with insurance the percent covered by their employers fell to 59.5% from 59.8% a year earlier. This change may seem small but there are two things to remember: one, each tenth of a percent represents hundreds of thousands of people, and, two, these numbers have been on a steady decline since 2001 when:

-14.6% of Americans were uninsured (15.9% now).

-62.6% were covered by their employers (59.5% now).

The Census survey also found that Texas has the highest number of uninsured (24.6%) and Minnesota the lowest (8.7%), and that last year the number of uninsured children increased from 7.9 million to 8.3 million.