Health Care: Insurance Coverage: Government Coverage

The percentage of the population who are covered by the government programs for Medicare, Medicaid or Military issue.
The percentage of the population who are covered by the government programs for Medicare, Medicaid or Military issue.  

Related "Issue of the Day" Entries

Proposed Means of Paying for Health Care Reform
Published Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

The Senate Finance Committee has issued a 40 page report on options to pay for health care reform measures and coverage for the nearly 50 million who are uninsured. Among these options, cutting cost is the most popular for the long run, yet in the short term, some are proposing taxes as a way to raise the necessary funding and trigger cost-saving lifestyle changes. For example, a soda tax will target drinks with high caloric sweeteners; diet drinks will be exempt. Another proposal would put a federal tax on alcoholic drinks. The proposal also suggests that health insurance benefits for those who make over $200,000 as individuals and $400,000 as a couple be taxed. Plus, for upper income seniors, they will be charged more for their Medicare drug plans.

Public and private health care spending has risen relatively in parallel, with a fluctuating gap between the two since 1977 and a present gap of $108 billion. The annual pace at which both have climbed is mirrored by the average annual expenditures per consumer for out-of-pocket health care in a year, which is calculated at nearly $3000 in 2007. Currently, the pressures of those expenditures have caused many to be uninsured, to fall on government health care rolls, or worse yet to go into foreclosure or bankruptcy. When compared to other countries, America spends more on health care as a percentage of GDP and yet has one of the highest rates of uninsured.

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Health Care to be Addressed by President Obama
Published Monday, May 11th, 2009

In an effort to influence the Health Reform that President Obama is determined to initiate, hospitals, insurance companies, drug makers and doctors will voluntarily slow their rate increases in coming years, potentially adding up to $2 trillion in spending reductions over 10 years. 6 major health groups pledged to cut the rise in health care costs by 1.5 percentage points each year. This move will help provide health insurance to the growing 50 million who now have no health insurance. Obama’s plan is estimated to cost the federal government $1.2 to $1.5 trillion over 10 years, only half of that has been accounted for by the White House. Health groups who discouraged the health reforms prescribed by the Clinton administration seem to be coming forward to help President Obama for a variety of reasons.

By 2007, overall annual consumer expenditures for Private and public health care has reached 1.2 trillion and 1.02 trillion respectively. The difference in public and private expenditures has not always been so wide; between 1977 and the present, the range has slowly grown wider, except between 1994 to 2000 where private shrank and public grew. The number of uninsured has grown from 14% in 2000 to 15.3% of the population in 2007. The percentage includes the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which has grown from 3.4 million in 2000 to 6 million in 2005. Most prone to be uninsured are minorities, who are disproportionately uninsured at 24.5-21.8% and those who of 18-44 years of age. All of which has lead to a steady increase in government health care rolls from 10.3% in 2000 to 13.2% in 2007.

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Shifting Healthcare Coverage
Published Friday, October 10th, 2008

Being without healthcare is one of the most stressful positions many Americans have found themselves in these last few years. According to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau, there is a slight increase in those insured by means of any type of coverage, either Private or Public. But the rise is due to many Americans falling off private rolls and even more ending up on state sponsored Medicare and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

Having insurance is only a small comfort when faced with serious illness or accident. According to a Harvard University study, half of all bankruptcies occur because of medical bills. Many of them have insurance, yet they are still hit with the duel disaster of illness and bankruptcy. What good is coverage if it leads to not enough coverage in the face of disaster?

So where are these new public insurance rolls coming from? One source is the drop in Private healthcare coverage which went down in 2006-2007 from 59.7% to 59.3%. Another source is the number of children being placed on the rolls: whilst in 2007 17.6% of children in poverty were without insurance that is down from the 19.3% in 2006.

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Learn More

U.S. Census Bureau: Healthcare Insurance Coverage - http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/hlthins/hlthins.html
View the most recent reports, briefs (short reports), and data on Health Insurance.

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Consumer Action: Health Insurance - http://www.consumeraction.gov/caw_insurance_health.shtml
Consumer Action is a site dedicated to providing tools and information on Healthcare.