• The census report is out

    The yearly census report on the uninsured is out. It’s the usual bad news:

    In 2010, the percentage was 16.3%, compared to 16.1% in 2009.  Among the non-elderly, 18.4% of individuals were uninsured in 2010, which is not statistically different from the nonelderly uninsured rate of 18.2% in 2009.  During 2010, 49.9 million people were without insurance.

    That’s up from about 49 million in 2009. Private insurance coverage continues to shrink, from 56.1% of the population in 2009 to 55.3% this year; it was 64.1% in 1999.

    The one bit of good news?

    However, 18-24 year olds were the only age group to experience a significant increase in the percentage with health insurance over the past year, from 70.7% in 2009 to 72.8% in 2010. This is a two percentage point increase in the share of adults 18-24 with coverage and represents 500,000 more young adults with health insurance. The Affordable Care Act allows children to remain on their parents’ plans until age 26, and this policy took effect for insurance plan renewals beginning on September 23, 2010. Given that the fraction with health coverage was stable or decreasing in other groups, the two percentage point increase in share with health coverage among 18-24 year olds almost certainly reflects the effects of the extension of dependent coverage to age 26.

    Nice to see that part of the ACA working already!

    Also, say what you want about single-payer (Medicare), but it sure prevents uninsurance:

    Figure 4

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    • You write:

      “Also, say what you want about single-payer (Medicare), but it sure prevents uninsurance:”

      You guys should define what you mean by both “single payer” and “Medicare” some time.

      So far in Vermont, “single payer” means something like the current Masschusetts system with some small number of residents buying insurance from dozens of private insurers via an exchange but no change at all for the those working for self-insured employers and no change at all if you don’t want it. This all morphs into something else some day… maybe… if the funding can be figured out and the Federal goverrnment allows it. But no changes are planned for those on Medicaid and Medicare (and the green mountains will turn red if anyone tries to change Medicare). Single payer in Massachusetts refers to a bill that has been lingering in legislative committees for about 20 years and not only means single payer (the state via a 10% or 15% increase in state income taxes from their current 6.25%) but also foresees most providers except small physician practices becoming state employees.

      Which of these models do you mean when you use the term single payer? Or do you have another example? (I pick these two because I have not heard of any others in process in the U.S.)

      And of course, as you know, neither of the two types of single payer mentioned has the slightest resemblance to Medicare as we knew it (pre the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act)..

    • Just to be very precise, the Mass-Care single payer proposal in committee in the Massachusetts Legislature calls for a 10-15 percentage point increase in the current state income tax , not just a 10%-15% increase in the state income tax rate as I said in my comment. In other words, single payer healthcare insurance in Massachusetts would mean a state income tax rate north of 15% — instead of around 5% — depending on what categories of income to which it applied (just payroll, pay plus business income, both of those plus interest/dividends, etc.). Of course, residents would not have to pay healthcare insurance premiums. (unless they were on Medicare???)

      Also, I’m wrong in my comment about the income tax being 6.25%–that’s the sales tax. The sales tax was increased 20% in 2009 to help fund the state budget shortfalls related to the various 2006/2008/2010 legislation known as RomneyCare.

      The Massachusetts income tax is 5.3%. It used to be 5.95% but it was reduced by initiative petition in 2000. Liberals — of which there are millions in Massachusetts — who think that taxes should be higher can voluntarily choose to pay 5.85% instead of 5.3%. I cannot find any authoritative information on this but I understand from news reports that fewer than 1000 of the millions of liberals in Massachusetts pay the higher rate.

      The initiative petition that reduced the income tax rate specified that the rate be reduced to 5% by 2005. Each year the legislature delays the date the lower rate becomes effective but that three tenths of a point is the least of our problems.

    • According to the Census report, the ACA insurance provision applied to 19-25 year olds, not 18-24 year olds, and the report specifically breaks out data for that age group. Uninsurance fell by 393,000 among 19-25 year olds.

      In addition, whoever blasted out that HHS press release did not notice that having 500,000 fewer uninsured is not the same thing as having 500,000 more insured, due to population growth. The 18-24 year old population grew by 338,000, in addition to the 502,000 fewer uninsured, for a total of 840,000 more insured in that age group.