As Democrats in Washington attempt to push through health care legislation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released a report that says middle class families have been hardest hit by the rising cost of health insurance.
Nationally, some 3 million people lost employer health coverage from 2000 to 2008, the Princeton, N.J. charitable foundation reported. Overall, the foundation, which focuses on health issues, found that 13 million middle income Americans were uninsured in 2008. That was an increase of 2 million over 2000, the report said.
In Pennsylvania the average number of uninsured middle class residents rose from 249,000 in 2000 to 381,000 in 2008 - a 53 percent increase - the report found. In New Jersey, the total number of uninsured in the middle-class averaged 293,000 in 2000 and 327,000 in 2008, a 12 percent increase. In Delaware, the total number grew 23 percent, to 27,000 in 2008.
"American's uninsured crisis means that hard-working people with average incomes are being squeezed," said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and CEO of the foundation. "The fallout from rising health insurance costs hits everyone."
The report – Barely Hanging On: Middle-Class and Uninsured A State-By-State Analysis - was compiled by researchers at the State Health Access Data Assistance Center at the University of Minnesota. It was based on U.S. Census Bureau data and did not include data from 2009.
The report noted that the Census Bureau estimated that 46.3 million people are uninsured in the U.S., but that most experts believe that millions more people have become uninsured due to job losses and rising health insurance costs in 2009 and so far this year.