More Americans went without health insurance in 2018; income growth stalled

The share of Americans without health insurance rose for the first time in a decade last year and U.S. household income barely rose, according to a government report on Tuesday that laid bare issues that could become central to the U.S. presidential election next year.

About 27.5 million residents, or 8.5% of people, did not have health insurance in 2018, an almost 2 million increase from the year before when 7.9% of people lacked coverage, the Census bureau said. It was the first year-to-year increase in the percentage of uninsured people since the Great Recession.

The Trump administration has taken a series of measures, including sharply cutting funding previously provided to groups that help people get health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, that have weakened the law’s benefits and protections.



The new data also showed a muddled picture of an economy U.S. President Donald Trump has characterized as the strongest ever and on which he is centering his reelection hopes.

The Census bureau said that the median U.S. household income was $63,179 in 2018, not statistically different from the $62,626 registered in 2017 despite reflecting a year in which U.S. economic growth was boosted by Trump’s tax overhaul and a rise in government spending, the effects of which have begun to wane.

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