CDC: 59.1 million lacked insurance
November 9th, 2010
04:45 PM ET

CDC: 59.1 million lacked insurance

The number of Americans without health insurance is rising, and it's not just those living in poverty who are affected. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's new Vital Signs report, 59.1 million people had no health insurance for at least some part of the 12-month period that ended in March of this year. That's up 400,000 people from 2009.

Of that 59.1 million people, about 50 million aged 18 to 64 years had no health insurance, according to the CDC– the most ever recorded in that age group.

The data is from the National Health Interview Survey covering 2006 through 2009 and the first quarter of 2010. Over that time, the number of people without insurance in the 18- to 64-year-old age group has increased an average of 1.1 million Americans per year. Half of the overall increase are among people with family incomes twice to three times higher than the federal poverty level of about $22,000 for a family of four.

Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC, says the numbers mean access to care is seriously affected. "Private insurance coverage has been falling steadily for at least the last 10 years," Frieden said. "The public insurance safety net helped cover children, but private insurance fell by 9 percent."  The uninsurance rate is three times higher in adults than children, according to the CDC.

The report also found adults without health insurance were three times more likely to skip or delay care because of cost. Last year, more than 40 percent of adults aged 18-to-64 years who had chronic diseases such as diabetes, asthma or high blood pressure and didn't have insurance admitted they went without care. Such delays can lead to poorer patient outcomes and higher costs. One reason, according to Frieden, is that people without insurance are much less likely to have a regular doctor.

There are stark differences in health insurance coverage in state-to-state comparisons. In Massachusetts, because the state has strong policies on health care coverage, only 6 percent of adults are uninsured. In Texas, 29 percent of adults have no health insurance, according to the CDC.

The CDC says the Affordable Care Act is expected to cover up to 94 percent of people under 65 years by 2019. That's an additional 32 million Americans.

Another measurement of the uninsured, from the U.S. Census Bureau shows 50.7 million people were without insurance for 2009.  The Census Bureau figure, reported in September, reflects how many people were uninsured for the full calendar year.

soundoff (302 Responses)
  1. search for sanity

    ATM I hope you get your just deserts! You served, please you serve your own personal greed and sloth and I hope YOU drowned in it not your family only you!

    November 10, 2010 at 02:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. windrider2

    When I became disabled, I was too young for Medicare but living on a fixed income about half my working income, I could not have afforded the COBRA insurance premiums had it not been for the government subsidy. When Republicans killed that subsidy, I lost my insurance. I've been holding my breath ever since because with heart disease and a history of heart attacks & stroke, chronic arthritis, and other major health problems, I've had to forego medical care and prescriptions. I'm praying I make it another month when I will be eligible for Medicare.

    Many others are even worse off and the Republicans have sworn to kill any funding for any provisions of the health care overhaul plan so that means no help for tens of millions of Americans. We will soon be seeing hundreds of thousands of deaths annually due to the lack of health care insurance. Republicans are fine with this. They claim that the free market system will solve everything, when our problems arise directly from the "free market" system we now have. It is the problem, not the solution.

    It's hard to believe that Americans so joyfully embrace coming in dead last among all industrialized developed nations when it comes to providing basic health care insurance for all its citizens. Their health care costs are half what ours are, and they are healthier and living longer than we do. We claim to have the best health care system in the world, but only our technology is first-rate. And what good is having the best technology if 20% of your population can't access it due to lack of insurance. It's like everything else here: money talks and money rules.

    November 10, 2010 at 02:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Daina

      All whole lot of us don't enjoy a system where choices are not up to your MD and, as my husbands' mind has been warped by Fox news I apprised him to send a 'thank you' letter to his party now that there isn't a chance the COBRA subsidy will return and we can no longer afford insurance (as he is self-employed there isn't a chance he'll get it on his own & I have no job security as a temp worker...want to know what field I'm in that, in the zeal to avoid paying benefits runs half it's staff on temps? Healthcare...yes, I am not eligible for the selfsame care I provide others when between jobs...I no longer see the point in routine screenings such as mammograms and why would I? It's not as if I could afford to be treated.

      November 10, 2010 at 05:24 | Report abuse |
    • Daina

      A whole lot of us do not and I am sick of hearing the right wingnuts speak of what 'Americans want' I'm American & they do not speak for me. They care about money, not living things and if those who lack insurance die off well that makes them happy...one less poor person.

      November 10, 2010 at 05:28 | Report abuse |
  3. John M

    Of course CNN would compare Massachusetts to Texas, because you know Massachusetts borders Mexico as well and as a result has millions of fresh citizens who just barely crossed the border... The poverty rate in Texas is higher as a result.

    The only point in making such a comparison is to further the writers' agenda of having a national health care system. No thank you, leave that up to the states. The Constitution requires it.

    November 10, 2010 at 02:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • chris

      Hyperbole and more hyperbole.

      I'd suggest you brush up on your Constitutional knowledge. Maybe actually read it before you try to interpret it. The problem with fools like the tea party and the republicans is that they interpret the Constitution the same way they interpret the bible: They conveniently leave out the parts that they don't want to acknowledge and then twist the words around to fit whatever agenda they're trying to push.

      It's laughable when you're educated enough to see the tricks they try to pull. Like 'abortion is bad' but it's perfectly fine to slaughter an entire nation of innocent people as long as the government lies about evidence and suggests they're 'guilty' of something.
      Welfare is good if it's helping ME but not if it's helping YOU. Right? We don't want to pay taxes but we want everything provided for us free of charge.
      It's laughable.

      November 10, 2010 at 03:47 | Report abuse |
    • Nodack

      "The only point in making such a comparison is to further the writers' agenda of having a national health care system. No thank you, leave that up to the states. The Constitution requires it."

      The facts say that every other industrialized nation on the planet pays half what the US does for health care. Every industrialized country on the planet not named the US has socialized Universal Health Care of some kind. All of their citizens are covered and they all pay HALF what we pay.

      Their citizens don't go bankrupt because they cant pay their medical bills when they get sick. In the US illness is the #1 cause of bankruptcy.

      The facts prove our way of doing health care sucks unless you are in the business of health care, then of course you would think our way is clearly the best.

      November 10, 2010 at 05:10 | Report abuse |
  4. bennett

    if only the government required corporations, individuals and their own agencies to purchase our products [like the "insurance-industrial(sic) complex"].

    If they did, then, we would be able to afford health care. Bummer that.

    November 10, 2010 at 02:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. John M

    The free market is not the problem. We haven't had a true free market in this country in decades, and certainly no one in the health care industry perhaps ever... Allow consumers to shop across state lines for starters. Next, abolish the lobbying industry. No more corporatism in this country. Don't let corporations have any influence on government and vice versa. Whoa wait, this couldn't possibly be a Republican writing here? Nope not really, but trust me Democrats support corporatism just as much as Republicans, they're just really good as fooling their supporters on the issue.

    Anyway, we became the most powerful and prosperous nation on the planet because of free markets – that is the only reason this happened. Excessive regulation and corporatism is the reason why health care costs and insurance have skyrocketed. National health care will. not. solve. this. problem. Costs will go up with such a plan...

    True free markets with very limited but effectively enforced regulation are the only solution to the high costs of health care.

    November 10, 2010 at 02:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. ds

    Explain to me why during long term U E we have great insurance a real health plan, yet when he goes back to work we have a limited plan costing us 800 a month that covers NADA i call phcs a fake plan distributed by all state. Our only hope is that a permanent job offer comes. I have a serious chronic condition. As a result of pre existing condition, no you can not find an affordable policy. It hurts my heart to know i do not matter.
    I have seen other countries, lived in Germany. Had great care while there and it was affordable. While he is working again, i have had bad flare ups, not go in because the plan would not cover it. I ended up signing a DNR, having it on file. I refuse to put my family in medical debt again. That is the sad truth of our once great country. It is until you get sick or have a chronic condition. Heaven help you. Even worse if you are in Texas. I fear the day that Perry runs for president.
    I also fear January with new folks voted in. But then most likely i will not be here much longer, due to lack of care. It plain s u c ks.

    November 10, 2010 at 02:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • the cloak and the dagger

      I feel your pain...

      November 10, 2010 at 04:17 | Report abuse |
  7. chris

    This is a disgrace. A total disgrace.
    And the republicans are fighting to keep it this way or even make it worse by defending the practices of the insurance industry of dropping people and denying coverage?

    THIS is why this nation is falling apart. You can blame Obama or Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid all you like if that helps you sleep at night, but ultimately, you live in a country where others profit when you're dying and suffering and profit OUTRAGEOUSLY.
    Until this travesty is fixed, America will NEVER be the greatest country on earth. We're told all the time that we have the best health care and that's an outright lie. Where there is universal coverage in other nations, they have longer life expectancies and better health overall than the U.S.

    But so many people in America are so dumb, they buy into the lies about socialism and death panels. It's laughable....the poor helping the rich get richer and shooting themselves in both feet at the same time.
    The U.S. is a lost nation because the poor are dumb enough to fight tooth and nail for the top 5% of wealthiest Americans. They fight to allow them to pay less taxes (by percentage), and they fight and vote to protect the profits of the health insurance companies who will drop you at a moment's notice if you're not paying into it WAY more than you're getting out of it.

    Wake up, republicans. You're keeping this country down and out. And things will never improve until you're smart enough to figure out how much you've been fleeced and lied to over the past decade. You ARE nothing more than the puppets of the rich and your corporate overlords. They demand that you jump and you ask 'how high?'

    Enjoy the nation you have in the end because you'll get what you deserve when so many are so uneducated and ill informed about what they're voting on.

    November 10, 2010 at 03:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. not DOG

    The GOP-TEA are sounding with passion, they have to stop "Obamacare" or else it will destroy America. They are planning to impeach him for treason if he veto their efforts. Some are calling for 2nd amendment resolve should the Democrats act to stop them. In the meanwhile Rush Limbaugh sits on his fat rump and gets richer.

    November 10, 2010 at 04:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nodack

      Bush attacks a beaten down country for no reason using fabricated evidence, going against a UN vote of NO resulting in the killing of over 100,000 people and he gets re-elected by the right.

      Obama enacts Health care reform to help insure all Americans have some sort of health care and the right wants to impeach him for treason.

      That sounds about right.

      November 10, 2010 at 04:47 | Report abuse |
  9. Grant

    It's an insurance. I've spent $30,000 on car insurance in the last 30 years and have never had an accident. It's the same thing. I'm in Canada and spend for medical insurance too. I don't want a car wreck and I don't want to get sick bit I pay my insurance in case I do.

    November 10, 2010 at 04:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Nodack

    A couple years ago I didn't know much of anything about health care here or anywhere else. After doing some research I found out some interesting facts.

    Americans pay twice as much for health care as any other industrialized country in the world.

    The leading cause of Bankruptcy in the US is illness.

    All of those other countries have some form of Universal Health care (Socialized).

    Thousands of Americans die every year because they lack health care.

    The US is ranked 37th in the world behind Costa Rica.

    Every Democratic President since the 1930s has tried to pas health care reform and failed thanks to the Republican party until Obama.

    FOX/GOP just screams Socialism and the right goes into a panic. There isn't an industrialized country in the world that doesn't have various forms of Socialism including the US. Try living without roads, bridges, public schools, police, fire, Medicare, Social Security, parks, military, postal service, utilities etc for awhile Republicans and then tell me you still want to rid the country of all forms of Socialism.

    It's all BS. We are all in it together and we should all want to help each other like they do in every other industrialized country on the planet, but in the US the Religious right has a big thing against helping their fellow man. If we did it like any other country we would be paying half what we do now and everybody would be covered, but FOX/GOP isn't about to listen to reason or any other country's track record. I guess it's true that big business runs the country.

    November 10, 2010 at 04:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. jeff

    I am Canadian. No health care system is perfect, and yes, you do pay for it with taxes. But in Canada you never have to gamble with when you are going to need it. It is not something that will put you into bankruptcy when you do need it.It is not something that we worry about on a daily basis. In the States I am told that anyone can have access to health care if they need it and are uninsured. They just need to go to the county hospital and they won't be turned away. Isn't that socialized medicine that is paid by your taxes? With 65 million people uninsured, it is a badly planned health care nightmare.

    November 10, 2010 at 05:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Nicholas Larsen

    I have to keep on asking myself why health reform wasn't as simple as letting every American citizien buy into the federal employee healthcare. How hard would that have been?

    November 10, 2010 at 05:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Lawrence

    Here's an interesting quagmire; My HMO which covers everything is $489/month (1 person). The insurance company wants me to save money so they keep enticing me to switch to a PPO @ $220/month. At face value it seems like a no brainer until you read the fine print. The co pay and out of pockets surge to $2000/yr and the prescriptions went from a max of $10 to a max of $50 out of pocket. All in all I end up paying more in the long run for the PPO. Now who is benefitting from the care and who is benefitting from their bottom line?

    November 10, 2010 at 05:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Erika

      Do you have the ability to go to an HSA? We were paying $500/mo plus 1500 deductible and co-pays, up to $40, so my allergy shots for bees would fall under the $40 co pay, 15 straight weeks and then once a month for ever.....I also had surgery on my shoulder last year. We went with an HSA, we pay $500, it's $250 in premium and $250 into our HSA to cover our deductible, which is 3K. Once we pay the 3K, it's 100%. This year we saved I have no idea how much....a lot......over 2K.

      We're staying with the HSA for 2011, the kicker though is that apparently with the tax changes coming we'll be paying taxes on 15K, which is the employer covered portion. We'll still save money, even though we're paying out thousands and thousands.

      November 10, 2010 at 06:31 | Report abuse |
  14. Adambadadam

    We are becoming a third world country.

    November 10, 2010 at 06:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Not Good

    59 million Americans without health insurance? What does that say about our society? It says the huge corporations influence our government and convince the sheep to vote their way via fear marketing. They're winning.

    November 10, 2010 at 06:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Erika

    Add the bonus of paying taxes on the employer paid part of premiums beginning in 2011, unless of course someone smart fixes this in Washington.

    We are paying almost $500/mo between our premium and money going into an HSA to cover our 3K deductible. As of 2011, we'll be paying taxes on our employer paid portion, which is 15K a year. So, at 18% do the math. We may very well be better off NOT paying for insurance but playing roulette with our lives, because "what if" someone happens to get into an accident, or gets seriously ill in our family.....do we go broke, or do we pay with our health?

    I'm happy we have insurance, but it costs us more than our transportation to work, more than our home, it's insane.

    I had surgery this past June, the anesthesiologist, nurse anesthesiologist charged MORE than my surgeon.......seriously......he gave me a block, knocked me out and watched my vitals....I had no other drugs and no pain killers in surgery, my surgeon spends almost 3 hours reconstructing and fixing my shoulder and he billed less...

    That is the problem......

    November 10, 2010 at 06:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. ramtruck2500

    As someone who is "employed " by a contracting company. i can tell you this much all temps in the so called new jobs coming out have NO health coverage period. They were exempted under the Bush administration. These jobs although still here in the US are pretty much a waste of time as they donot include any health insurance except for rip off scams. Just take a close look at the crap Adecco has in its menu. Then throw in a pre-exiting condition and there you go yuare uninsurable! These companies are literally raping the work force. Adecco also simply refuses to even take out the health you do pay for before taxes. The only exlanation they give is they are the worlds largest employer?! They also are not US they are swiss. Yet another example of a foriegn element raping our country. people really need to get with it. And dont feel smug as you could be contracted out next leaving you withabsolutlely no federal rights at all. All they need to do is simply reclassify you to a industrial temp employee, we should be boycotting these companies as these jobs are GONE, Harly Davidson, Shopko, Kohler, Mercury marine and on not to mention all the southern auto plants. Think people its our country!

    November 10, 2010 at 06:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. UgotITbad

    Damn you americans have it bad, I pay £400 a month and that covers healthcare(national insurance). I don't have to worry about losing my house if I ever get sick. Seing some of the figures quoted above $20k for childbirth holy sh!t you're getting robbed. Some people stating that they'd rather take their chances in the ER, is the problem in a nutshell.

    Paying more for less, ouch... shame the public option was taken off the table thanks to pure greed.

    November 10, 2010 at 07:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Tom

    All of this is based on the red herring that health insurance is necessary for health care. Once the new Congress is in place, this is the health care reform I'd like to see:

    1) Establish Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) for every American to be administered by the Social Security Administration. Children under 18 would be covered by parents' accounts; those between 18 and 26 could opt to remain under their parents' account or establish one of their own.
    2) Funding of HSAs would come from three sources: employers, government subsidies, and account holders themselves. Set a mandatory minimum monthly contribution as a percentage of income to be paid primarily by employers. For unemployed and low-income Americans, government subsidies would be paid into the account. These subsidies would come from a National Health Care Trust Fund to be described later.
    3) Account holders may use the account to pay premiums on an insurance policy of their choice or pay for expenses "out-of-pocket". This is important in that the only REAL competition insurance companies have is that we be able to afford to walk away from them. The ability to say "No thanks" to insurance companies would apply powerful competitive pressures on them.
    4) In the event an account holder experiences catastrophic health costs that exhaust their HSA, provide the following: (1) the ability of other account holders to transfer holdings to that account (so, for instance, a mother who has accrued a large sum in her account could transfer some to her children) and (2) low-interest health care loans, funded by the afore-mentioned Health Care Trust Fund. Account holders would pay off the loan by mandated personal contributions to their HSA over a period of time determined by the size of the loan and the income of the account holder.
    5) Upon the death of the account holder, a significant tax would be imposed on the account – this would be the primary funding of the Health Care Trust Fund. The remaining account holdings would be distributed to beneficiaries' HSAs.

    There are many advantages to this approach: competitive pressures focused on the insurance companies (you'd think no one in Congress has ever read Michael Porter), improved worker mobility (even with the recently-passed HCRA, the employer is the primary intermediary between the insurance companies and the insured. Change jobs and your relationship with the insurance company is no more), a heightened sense of personal responsibility towards one's own health (you'd be paying for your health care directly, thereby seeing your REAL cost of not living well), and, most importantly, an expansion rather than contraction of personal liberty (those mandates that would be in place would apply to employers – specifically corporations).

    November 10, 2010 at 07:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tom

      Let me add a comment regarding our Canadian friends and their health care system. Unlike virtually every other nation on the face of this planet, ours is a nation founded on principles of liberty, self-reliance, and personal responsibility. In other words, mandated participation in a health care system may be fine in Canada or Britain or Sweden but it is unacceptable in a nation where liberty is THE core value. Here in America, I do believe we can craft a more equitable health care system that holds true to our ideals while making health care affordable for all but the HCRA that passed this year does not pass muster. After all, the American Dream is NOT to have a three-bedroom, two-bath home with picket fence and two cars in the garage – it is to build one's own destiny, to be able to make those important decisions in one's own life (such as how we choose to care for ourselves, our families, and others).

      November 10, 2010 at 08:36 | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Tom, your ideas are just that: ideas. Do you have any examples to point to in countries that follow your ideas that would show a record of success? Instead of all this messing around and allowing poor parents to transfer some of their heath care dollars to their even poorer children, why not adopt a health care system with a PROVEN track record?

      I like America quite a bit, but even I have considered moving to Canada. America seems to be collapsing in on its self, and I'm not sure that there is anything that can be done to save it at this point. It would require a large shift in people's perceptions and expectations.

      November 10, 2010 at 09:29 | Report abuse |
    • DB

      Funding of HSAs would come from three sources: employers, government subsidies... Whoa there pardner. Getting a little socialistic aren't we? Not to mention a bit hypocritical? NO government subsidies! What about "personal responsibility" and "freedom" from a "nanny state"? Now how does being comparatively more sick and ignorant improve America's competitive advantage exactly? I am not following you there. Maybe because it's down a rabbit hole towards wonderland.

      November 10, 2010 at 13:54 | Report abuse |
  20. HPN

    Was glad to hear from some of our Canadian friends in the article that say it can be done. Americans have gotten their priorities out of order. There was a time when as a nation we feared death as the result of an invasion from a foreign country, so we rightfully built up a national defense. Then we feared dying by starving to death, so we created our educational system. At the time there were no great medical advances, even a doctor in your home 24 hrs. a day would make little difference in your life expectancy. However today the largest threat to a citizen's life is a medical illness many of which are treatable IF YOU HAVE THE MONEY. I do not ever wish to see this nation become so cold hearted that it is just understood, the wealthy will live and the poor will die. If I had choice between being able to beat up on small nations at will versus saving my life with a heart operation, I will take the heart operation. If I had the choice between having a college degree and a life saving heart operation, I'll take the heart operation. Anyone over 50 years old has learned by now "don't sweat the little stuff" and everything outside of the health of you and your loved ones is "little stuff".

    November 10, 2010 at 07:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Mike


    if we all knew what doctors charged (and how much its gone up over the past 10 years) we'd understand why healthcare has increased in cost exponentially. Insurers profits (who often get blamed) have decreased. Doctors pay has increased. Sure they have student loans etc but have you ever seen a doctor driving a Hyundai, Kia or heaven forbid taking a bus to work? I went to work last week and in the hour drive I saw 3 Physician license plates. They were on a Cadillac, a BMW and a Mercedes. Check the stats to see what doctors are paid here vs other countries. ER Doctors make on average $250k per year. Anesthesiologists $400k per year. That's where costs are going. WAKE UP PEOPLE to the wool being pulled over your eyes.

    November 10, 2010 at 08:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Mike

    As long as the Republicans can continue to convince people that socialized health care = Hitler ot Stalin or whatever fear word of the month is, we'll have this ever-growing problem.

    November 10, 2010 at 09:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. DB

    Deuce hit the nail squarely on the head. Americans wanted this. So this is great news. Most uninsured are using Dr. ER as their personal physician, so the insured rates go up to cover visits to Dr. ER. The law requiring ER rooms to treat those with or without insurance should be the first to be repealed. Let the hospitals swallow the costs entirely, or have the option of refusing treatment without pay. Let the bodies really stack up. That's the way hate filled Americans really like it. Great entertainment. Better than American Idol! America is a proudly oafish, greedy, and hate based country. Like pre- Nazi Germany, but minus the brains, culture, and fashion sense. And the Tea Klux Klan Party's meteoric rise to overwhealming popularity proves the point. This is certainly the way America loves it.

    November 10, 2010 at 12:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. ChristineWithRegence

    The costs of health care soar when prices and information aren't transparent. Check out the explanations at http://www.whatstherealcost.org/info-desk.php?category=o.ut-of-control-costs

    November 11, 2010 at 11:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. True Cures

    I would like to offer an option to high cost and ineffective health care. Please take 30 seconds and view and sign this petition demanding science and medicine utilize existing cures that cannot be patented and sold as medicine. The human immune system is full capable of offering immunity and provide you with all your health care needs outside of trauma.

    I know this contradicts everything you know or think you know, but the fact is, we have devolved to disregard immunity in favor of medicine. As it is, there is no science whatsoever researching cures that can't be patented, cures found within the human immune system.

    Please take 30 seconds to sign and help eliminate the need for health insurance and health care reform.


    November 14, 2010 at 23:18 | Report abuse | Reply
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