Statcast Number 8 Transcript
DATE: June 25
PUBLICATIONS: “Health Insurance Coverage: Early Release of Estimates from the National Health Interview Survey, 2007" and “State, Regional, and National Estimates of Health Insurance Coverage for People under 65 years of age: National Health Interview Survey, 2004-2006"
SPOKESPERSON: Robin Cohen, a statistician with the CDC National Center for Health Statistics, discusses the findings in two new reports on state and national health insurance coverage in the U.S.
COHEN: We found that health insurance coverage for children has increased since 2007... In 2007 6.5 million children lacked coverage compared to 9.9 million children in 1997.
HOST: “Statcast… June 25, 2008”
HOST: Robin Cohen, a statistician with the CDC National Center for Health Statistics, is the author of two new reports on health insurance coverage in the U.S. The NCHS does not set health care policy, but as a statistical agency its data are often used by policymakers who do.discusses the growing reliance on wireless telephones in the U.S.
HOST: Robin, you have 2 new reports out on health insurance today. Can you tell us how the reports differ?
COHEN: The Health Insurance report out of the Early Release program is primarily a trend report and so one can track changes since 1997 through 2007, whereas the states report that tracks 41 states through 2004-2006 is really a picture in time.
HOST: Let’s start with the 2007 “preliminary” report. How many Americans do not have health insurance, according to your data?
COHEN: Overall 43.1 million persons lacked health insurance coverage in 2007… 53.9 million or 18.2 percent of the population had been uninsured for at least part of the year and 30.6 million persons or about 10 percent had been uninsured for more than a year at the time of the interview .
HOST: How many children do not have insurance?
COHEN: We found that health insurance coverage for children has increased since 2007... In 2007 6.5 million children lacked coverage compared to 9.9 million children in 1997 and 3.7 million children lacked coverage for more than a year in 2007.
HOST: What is behind the improvement for children over that time period?
COHEN: The improvement among children is due to increasing public coverage for children and which is most dramatic for low income families - especially for children from families just above poverty.
Our results suggest the success of the State Children's Health Insurance Program which was enacted in 1997 to help children without insurance... many who come from families with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid but too low to afford private coverage.
HOST: When we look at the uninsured, what groups are most likely not to have health insurance?
COHEN: The person who are most likely not to have Health Insurance are persons who lack employment, persons of Hispanic origin, and actually younger adults.
HOST: Now your second report focuses on 41 states using data from 2004 to 2006 … what were some of the more significant findings there?
COHEN: This new report presents data on state, regional and national estimates for people under age 65 and we found that the southwest region of the United States has the highest percentage of people under 65 without health insurance... 18.2% of children and nearly 30% of adults at the time of the interview in 2004 thru 2006…The New England region had the lowest percentage of persons who were uninsured.
HOST: Do we know why New England would fair so much better than the Southwest in insurance coverage?
COHEN: Generally what we found is in states that had high uninsurance rates we see low rates of private coverage and in states that had low uninsurance rates we see high rates of private coverage and this is reflected in it and so the New England region has high rates of private coverage.
HOST: In which states are people more likely to have health insurance and in which states are people less likely to have health insurance?
COHEN: The percentage of persons under 65 who were uninsured at the time of interview varied amongst the states from about 8% to about 28% and we found that states concentrated in the southeast and southwest were more likely to have a higher percentage than the U.S. overall. And these states would include Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Georgia, Florida, for example… States that that had lower percentages of uninsured than the national average were states that were concentrated in New England, Great Lakes and Plains regions. An example of these states would be Minnesota, Iowa, Pennsylvania and New York, Virginia, but this is not an inclusive list and in the report you can easily see which states have a lower percentage or a higher percentage of uninsured.
HOST: Our thanks to Robin Cohen for joining us on this edition of “Statcast.” “Statcast” is a production of the Public Affairs Office at the CDC/National Center for Health Statistics.