Today the Census Bureau came out with its annual Current Population Survey, which reports on income levels, poverty and health insurance for 2009.
Nationally, the results on health insurance are sobering (full report, detailed tables): The percentage of people in the US without health insurance increased to 16.7 percent in 2009 from 15.4 percent in 2008. The number of uninsured people increased to 50.7 million in 2009 from 46.3 million in 2008. The drop in coverage was due to declining employer-based coverage. The number covered by employment-based health insurance declined from 176.3 million to 169.7 million.
For us, Massachusetts is a lone beacon of good news. While the statisticians appropriately caution that one cannot look at a single year’s data as authoritative, the survey estimated the Massachusetts uninsurance rate at 4.4%. This is by far the best state in the nation. States numbers 2, 3, and 4 and 5 had uninsurance rates of 8.2, 8.8, 9.5 and 9.9% – almost double or more our rate.
Later today, the always-expert and timely Mass Budget and Policy Center will be rushing out a more in-depth analysis of the Massachusetts numbers, with more context and statistical rigor (UPDATE: MBPC report). Still, any way you cut it, it’s good to be number one.