Nearly 50 million Americans uninsured, CDC says
March 23rd, 2011
04:54 PM ET

Nearly 50 million Americans uninsured, CDC says

Almost 50 million Americans are without health insurance– 3 million more than a year ago, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  The report finds one in five people were uninsured during some portion of the last 12 months.

Over the past decade, the number of adults 18-64 without medical coverage has gone up but the number of children lacking insurance has gone down, according to the CDC.

An expert with the Kaiser Family Foundation who monitors these figures says the economy is partly to blame.

"In the U.S., people's insurance coverage is linked to their jobs and so when people lose jobs, they lose the insurance coverage that comes with it," says Rachel Garfield senior researcher and associate director at the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured.

More than a third of unemployed adults under age 65 have been without health insurance for more than a year compared with about one in six adults who are still working, according to the CDC.

But since the late 1990s, government programs have expanded coverage for children so now only 8.2% of them do not have some type of medical assistance.

People in the South and West were less likely to enroll in a health plan. And adult males younger than 65 were more likely to be uninsured than their female counterparts.

Researchers say that of 68,000 Americans surveyed, two-thirds are considered in good health but that's down from a decade ago.

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