Census Bureau: Number of uninsured exceeds 46.6 million

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The nation has set a new record in the number of uninsured Americans, according to the latest data reported by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The number of those without insurance jumped from 45.3 million in 2004 to 46.6 million in 2005, the statistics say. That means that 15.9% of Americans lacked health insurance coverage last year, said David S. Johnson, chief of the bureau's Housing and Household Economic Statistics Division. He blamed the increase on fewer employers offering health insurance. The number of people buying private coverage also fell.

Also from the report: The number of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries increased from 79.4 million in 2004 to 80.2 million a year later, but the percentage of Americans covered by the federal programs was 27.3% both years, according to the report.

The full report is available at http://www.census.gov/prod/2006pubs/p60-231.pdf