More Uninsured Last Year, Even as Poverty Shrank to Record Low
Health Care

More Uninsured Last Year, Even as Poverty Shrank to Record Low

Alex Ivey/The Fiscal Times

Nearly 30 million people lacked health insurance at some point in 2019, the U.S. Census Bureau said Tuesday, an increase of about 1 million from the year before. The number of uninsured increased for the third year in a row. 

“The number of Americans uninsured increased by 2.3 million from 2016 to 2019, after dropping by 20 million in the years following passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010,” Larry Levitt of the Kaiser Family Foundation tweeted Tuesday. Levitt said the “nicks and cuts inflicted on the ACA” by the Trump administration are a likely cause of the increase in the number of uninsured, and cited “massive cutbacks in outreach, leeway given to states to restrict their Medicaid programs, and repeal of the individual mandate penalty.” 

The health insurance numbers stand in contrast to the data on income and poverty also reported by the Census. A record low share was living in poverty in the U.S. in 2019, the government said, with 10.5% of the population in poverty, down from 11.8% in 2018 — the lowest figure since 1959, when estimates were first published. Median household income rose to $68,700, the highest level recorded in the data series, which stretches back to 1967.