American College of Physicians: Internal Medicine — Doctors for Adults ®

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Uninsured population grew by nearly 1 million in 1998

From the November 1999 ACP-ASIM Observer, copyright © 1999 by the American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine.

The U.S. Census Bureau announced last month that 44.3 million Americans went without health insurance in 1998, an increase of 833,000 people from the previous year.

The census report found that 23 million men and 21.3 million women lacked health care coverage last year. Seven million of those without coverage were not U.S. citizens.

Particularly troubling for many public health experts was the fact that 11.1 million children had no health care coverage, despite efforts like the federal government's Children's Health Insurance Program.

Statewide, the statistics varied. The numbers of uninsured declined in eight states but rose in 16 others, according to two-year comparisons. The rates of the uninsured ranged from a low of 8.7% in Hawaii to a national high of 24.4% in Texas.

Advocates of universal coverage pointed to the report as evidence that legislators need to address access issues. The College is calling on presidential and congressional candidates to make access to care an integral part of their platforms.

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