A new Census report finds that, in 2008, the number of people without health insurance increased from from 45.7 million to 46.3 million (the number of uninsured has increased by 7.3 million since 2000). The report suggests that a weakened economy and rising health care costs are pushing more Americans towards so-called safety-net coverage. According to the data, “the percentage of people covered by government health insurance programs increased to 29.0 percent in 2008,” up from from 27.8 percent in 2007. The uninsured rate declined significantly for Americans under 18 and over 65 — the two groups who are eligible for government-sponsored coverage. The Wonk Room has more on the importance of public programs.
Pat Garofalo highlights the new poverty data: The poverty rate has risen to an eleven-year high of 13.2 percent, with 39.8 million people in poverty (an additional 8.3 million people fall below the poverty line under Bush).