Census Bureau report

The U.S. Census Bureau today released its 2006 report on health insurance coverage, among other topics. The report notes that

The number of people with health insurance increased to 249.8 million in 2006 (up from 249.0 million in 2005). In 2006, the number of people covered by private health insurance (201.7 million) and the number of people covered by government health insurance (80.3 million) were not statistically different from 2005.

However, the report adds that

Both the percentage and the number of people without health insurance increased in 2006. The percentage without health insurance increased from 15.3 percent in 2005 to 15.8 percent in 2006, and the number of uninsured increased from 44.8 million to 47.0 million.

While the report cautions that “Research shows health insurance coverage is underreported in the [study] for a variety of reasons,” its finding that the number of uninsured children has increased from 8 million (10.9 percent) in 2005 to 8.7 million (11.7 percent) in 2006″ will play a factor in the SCHIP reauthorization debate. It is puzzling to me that the percentage of children living in poverty without health insurance — the intended beneficiaries of the SCHIP program — is 19.3% (unchanged from 2005) while the percentage of uninsured senior citizens — the intended beneficiaries of the Medicare program — is only 1.5%.