A Healthy Blog

Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

Annual Census Report on Numbers of Uninsured

Annual Census Report on Numbers of Uninsured

August 30, 2005

Here are excerpts from our press relase today on the 2005 Census Bureau report on the uninsured:

"Health care advocates are disappointed by new figures showing substantial growth in the number of uninsured people in Massachusetts.

“'The numbers continue to increase. We need aggressive leadership at all levels of government to get people the basic coverage they need to be secure and healthy,' said John McDonough, Executive Director of Health Care For All.

"The federal census bureau released the results of its 2004 Current Population survey today. The census found the uninsurance rate in Massachusetts grew from 10.3% in 2002-2003 to 11.2% in 2003-2004. The rate was 9.1% in 2001-2002. This growth rate corresponds to a 23% increase in the uninsurance rate since the 2003 report, the fourth highest of any state over this period. The Commonwealth is one of only 5 states that marked a significant increase in the past 2 reports.

“'We know from multiple studies that the uninsured receive less care and are therefore more ill. Besides the impact of disease and poor health, uninsurance results in reduced earnings and lower levels of educational achievement,' McDonough said."

It's widely recognized among health policy researchers that the state by state census numbers overestimate the number of uninsured. What is important and valid is the overall trend rate, which -- for Massachusetts -- is up and up and, now once again, up.