Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Census reports poverty down, health insurance coverage down too

Yesterday the Census Bureau reported that the poverty rate fell for the first time this decade, while the number and percentage of individuals who report they have no health insurance rose in 2006.

Declines in self-reported insurance coverage among African Americans and Hispanics were responsible for the overall rise in the uninsured.

Health insurance is a funny thing in this country, because for many workers and companies, it's basically optional. One manual laborer I knew once said that she didn't need health insurance because she never got sick. She also may have had a larger family or extended family and thus a larger informal support network. But mostly, I think the reason she had no insurance was because she was an independent contractor and probably faced relatively high rates on her own.