The number of medically uninsured Americans rose to 46.6 million – almost 16% of all Americans; up 1.3 million from last year. This is the fifth year in a row that the uninsured number has increased. From 2004 to present, 400,000 more children are now uninsured; 1 in 5 “impoverished children lacked coverage”; “22% of Hispanic children were uninsured”.
Most experts cited the cost-driven decline of employer-based health coverage and private insurance for the overall increase.
At the same time, the nation’s poverty rate remained at 12.6%, the same as last year, and median household income increased by 1.1% to $46,326. However, full-time male and full-time female employees saw a decrease in their earnings level in 2005 (1.8% for males – second straight year; 1.3% for females – third straight year).
“It’s a bizarre situation where the pie is growing pretty dramatically but most people’s slices are getting smaller,” said Harry Holzer, a visiting fellow at the Urban Institute and former chief economist for the US Department of Labor.
What is interesting about the median household increase is that the accounting for this comes from high-income workers (20% of of households). They accounted “for more than half the total US household income in 2005”.
Looks like the rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer, and again, over a million people who had the privilege of health coverage have faced losing their coverage over the last year.