U.S. Median Income Stayed Flat in 2018; Poverty Rate Fell Slightly

Galtero Lara
Setiembre 11, 2019

The Oklahoma Policy Institute estimates Medicaid expansion, which would raise the income threshold for eligibility for the state-federal health insurance program, would reduce the number of uninsured in the state by 200,000.

The data showed that incomes rose substantially in big cities a year ago but declined in smaller ones.

Racial and ethnic minorities continued to face challenges in accessing medical care: 9.7% of blacks and 17.8% of Hispanics were uninsured, while 5.4% of white non-Hispanic people did not have coverage. "In states that expanded Medicaid eligibility. the uninsured rate in 2018 was 6.6 percent, compared with 12.4 percent in states that did not expand Medicaid eligibility".

The exact cause for the decline in health coverage remains unclear, but some health policy experts have pointed to the Trump administration's efforts to undermine the ACA as a likely explanation. Health care is the leading issue for Democrats, with proposals including Sen.

As Trump works to dismantle the law and liberal Democratic candidates seek to replace it with a government-financed health-care system, both sides can find ammunition for their interpretation of why the nation's uninsured rate has started rising again. The rate rose about half a percentage point between 2017 and 2018, the new report states. Around the country, insurance coverage worsened in eight states and improved in three states.

An estimated 548,000 Oklahomans lacked health insurance in 2018, up from an estimated 545,000 in 2017, the Census Bureau reported. They show that 3.3% of people previous year got their coverage through such a marketplace.

While Medicaid enrollment fell, the proportion of Americans covered through employer-based insurance did not change significantly.

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One bright spot in the report was that the poverty rate fell for the fourth straight year to 11.8%, its lowest point since 2001.

The report also found uninsured rates increase in eight states: Alabama, Arizona, Idaho, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas and Washington. "President Trump's critics wrongly assert that government programs and handouts are the only way to lift people out of poverty, but today's data tells a different story".

The fall in the USA poverty rate has been driven largely by people moving from part-time to full-time work, helping boost incomes.

"The decline in public coverage certainly contributed.Private coverage did not statistically change.For children we saw a similar pattern where there was a decline in public coverage and no statistical change in private coverage", said Laryssa Mykyta, chief of the Health and Disability Statistics branch at the Census bureau, in a conference call with reporters.

The pace of job growth, however, has slowed recently.

American middle-class households now earn more in inflation-adjusted terms than they did in 1999, a major milestone that's being driven by millions of getting jobs in the past several years.

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