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Study Finds 1 of 3 Nonelderly Americans Uninsured

By CQ Staff

September 20, 2007 – A Families USA analysis of Census Bureau data finds that more than one out of three people under age 65—approximately 89.6 million Americans—were uninsured at some point during 2006–2007.

Most of the uninsured lacked coverage for long periods of time, the study found. Nearly two-thirds were uninsured for six months or more and over half were uninsured for nine months or longer, according to the report, which was released Thursday.

Four out of five of the uninsured were from working families, with 70.6 percent employed full time and 8.7 percent employed part time. Of the total 89.6 million uninsured, 64.2 million were between 18 and 64 and more than a third were ages 25 to 44, the age group that makes up the largest percentage of the uninsured.

The Families USA analysis examines the uninsured over two two-year periods, 1999–2000 and 2006–2007, rather than the annual Census Bureau analysis, which measures the uninsured over a period of one year. The Families USA data also measures the number of people who were uninsured for different lengths of time.

"The huge number of people without health coverage over the past two years helps to explain why health care has become the top domestic issue in the 2008 presidential campaign," said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA. "The expansion of health coverage in America is no longer simply a matter of altruism about other people but a matter of intense self-interest."

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., said the report's findings "underscore the need for Congress to complete its work to extend the Children's Health Insurance Program to millions more low-income, uninsured children, and for the president to end the veto threat that would cause even more kids to become uninsured."

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