Nearly 51 million Americans uninsured in 2009

The number of uninsured people in America rose by 4.4 million to 50.7 million in 2009, up from 46.3 million in 2008, according to new U.S. Census Bureau data released Thursday.

Moreover, for the first time since the statistic began to be tracked by the federal government in 1987, the number of people with health coverage actually declined in 2009 compared with the previous year, according to the new government report Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2009.

Among the report’s findings:

  • The number of people with health insurance fell to 253.6 million in 2009, from 255.1 million the previous year.
  • The number of people with private health insurance fell from 201.0 million in 2008 to 194.5 million, while the number covered by government health insurance programs (Medicare and Medicaid) rose from 87.4 million to 93.2 million.
  • In 2009, 7.5 million children were uninsured.

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