Friday, September 17, 2010

Two fact sheets on new health care, poverty data from the U.S. Census Bureau

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New Census data show Massachusetts leads nation in health care coverage; poverty rises nationally while federal assistance softens blow

September 16, 2010

The U.S. Census Bureau today released data on health insurance and poverty rates for 2009. Two new fact sheets by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center examine the data.

Massachusetts Still a Leader in Health Coverage
reports on Census Bureau data indicating Massachusetts health care coverage still leads the nation. Nationally, health care coverage is declining. 

Using a multi-year average, the Census data estimate that in the 2007-2009 period, Massachusetts had a health insurance coverage rate of 94.9 percent -- more than any other state in the nation.  The closest state to Massachusetts was Hawaii, with health insurance coverage of 92.2 percent.  Texas, on the other hand, covered only 74.5 percent of its population during the 2007-2009 period.

The state's insurance rate of 94.9 percent demonstrates the impact of the Massachusetts health reform law implemented in April 2006.

(Today's data are useful for examining national trends. On Sept. 28, the Census Bureau will release data that will allow for more accurate state-level analysis.)

A second fact sheet, Poverty Rises Nationally in 2009, New Census Bureau Data Show, examines national poverty data released today by the Census Bureau.

As a result of the Great Recession, the year 2009 saw a significant increase in the national poverty rate.  The poverty rate rose to 14.3 percent in 2009 from 13.2 percent in 2008, the Census data show. The poverty rate would have risen even further had it not been for key public benefit programs and the expansions made to them under the 2009 Recovery Act. Unemployment insurance benefits alone kept 2.3 million individuals out of poverty in 2009, the data show.

On Sept. 28, the Census will release the 2009 American Community Survey, which provides reliable, single-year  data on poverty at the state level, including for Massachusetts.

The fact sheet Massachusetts Still a Leader in Health Coverage is available at or by clicking here.

The fact sheet Poverty Rises Nationally in 2009, New Census Bureau Data Show is available at or by clicking here.

See MassBudget's Budget Browser to explore Massachusetts state budgets from Fiscal Year 2001 to the present, as well as budget proposals offered by the Governor and the Legislature.

MassBudget provides independent research and analysis of state budget and tax policies, as well as economic issues, with particular attention to the effects on low- and moderate-income people.
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