Fewer Americans are living in poverty but, for the first time in years, more of them lack health insurance.
About 27.5 million people, or 8.5 percent of the population, lacked health insurance for all of 2018, up from 7.9 percent the year before, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday. It was the first increase since the Affordable Care Act took full effect in 2014, and experts said it was at least partly the result of the Trump administration’s efforts to undermine that law.
The growth in the ranks of the uninsured was particularly striking because the economy was doing well. The same report showed the share of Americans living in poverty fell to 11.8 percent, the lowest level since 2001. Median household income was $63,200, essentially unchanged from a year earlier after adjusting for inflation, but significantly above where it was during the Great Recession.
“In a period of continued economic growth, continued job growth, you would certainly hope that you wouldn’t be going backwards when it comes to insurance coverage,” said Sharon Parrott, senior vice president at the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
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