The steady decline in the past few years in the number of Americans who have personal health insurance is a good thing, yet there are still significant changes that must be made. With the upcoming election, voters must be aware of the candidate’s stance and how the decrease in the uninsured has and will continue to affect our country.

West Palm Beach, Florida ( – News Report) – The data collected by the United States Census Bureau has shown that the number of Americans without health insurance has declined. Reports from the federal government indicate that in 2007, 1.3 million more people had health insurance than those in 2008. This means that 15.3 percent of the population had health insurance in 2007, which was a decrease from the 15.8 percent in 2006. The number of those uninsured was 45.7 million, down from 47 million. In general, the decline is positive, but still not perfect – as 45.7 million Americans still have no health insurance and millions more are underinsured.

These declines are in response to the government’s push to increase the amount of health insurance programs. These programs include Medicaid and state health insurance plans for low income children, which had the largest increase of about 600,000 more children with health insurance. Yet when looking at how small, privately owned businesses are doing, it is not uncommon for them to withhold health benefits from employees. Premiums are on a rise and are therefore increasingly difficult for the employers to pay out. Additionally, the census found that overall, ‘the number of people covered by government programs rose to 83 million in 2007, up from 80.3 million in 2006. The number of people on Medicaid, the government health insurance program for low-income residents, increased to 39.6 million from 38.3 million. And the number of children without insurance dropped to 8.1 million from 8.7 million as those with public insurance rose by almost 1 million to 23 million. And by contrast, the rate of private health insurance coverage slid to 67.5% of U.S. residents in 2007, down from 67.9% a year earlier. The total number of people with private coverage was statistically unchanged at 202 million. The employment-based insurance rate fell to 59.3% from 59.7%, but the number of people covered by such plans was statistically steady at 177.4 million.’

According to an article from NPR news, “The bigger the help, the bigger the cost. The money to pay for expanded health coverage has to come from somewhere — either from employers, including small businesses, or from individuals. Obama would require employers to either provide benefits or contribute to a fund that would provide coverage. McCain makes no such rules for employers or individuals,” says Patti Neighmond. This is an extremely important topic in the presidential elections. Both McCain and Obama support subsidies and tax credits to help individuals buy insurance. In Obama’s plan, he states that all children under 18 should be covered by their parents, additionally he believes in expanding public programs in order for children of lower-income families to have coverage. Whereas, Senator McCain proposes a $5,000 tax credit for families – such programs are vital to provide Americans with the healthcare they need, more than ever before because of the conditions of our current economy. It is also important that the candidates clearly state their opinions and goals after seeing these results.

Jana Simard – – News Distribution Service