The segment of the U.S. population without health insurance increased in 2018, according to an annual report from the Census Bureau released Tuesday. It’s the first time in a decade that this number has grown.
According to the data, 27.5 million people, or 8.5% of the population, were uninsured in 2018, an increase of 1.9 million people. The number children, as well as adults ages 35-64, who did not have insurance, also rose. Demographically, children living in the southern U.S. and Hispanic children were the ones most likely to be uninsured, according to the report.
The number of people with full-time, year-round work increased this year, but people are working harder than ever and getting less in return than ever before. It’s clear that having work does not include any kind of guarantee from employer or state about the quality of workers’ lives.
The Associated Press reported that “steady hiring and an unemployment rate at 3.7%, near a five-decade low, have helped raise earnings for lower-paid workers employed by restaurants, warehouses, shipping firms and other sectors of the economy. This trend has contributed to a decline in poverty.”
Jobs in these particular sectors, though, are often non-union jobs without health insurance, benefits, or normal reliable hours. Warehouse jobs in particular are famously not so great. The truth is that having a job, or even three or more, does not prevent anyone from living in poverty in this country. Health care with insurance and a salary is already prohibitively expensive for many people. Greedy pharmaceutical companies and politicians who follow the directions of the healthcare industry make matters worse.
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Opponents of Medicare for All argue that it’s helpful to have employer-provided insurance, but the truth is that many companies don’t offer these benefits to their workers. Politicians are wrong to assume that labor in this country carries any guarantees. As more and more people live without health insurance, the results will be deadly. This is exactly how the rise of contract labor as well as jobs without any union protections are detrimental to the health of the working class.