Number of Uninsured Rises by 2 Million

New data from the 2018 Census Bureau Report shows that the number of people in the U.S. without health insurance increased by two million since 2017 to a total of 27.5 million in 2018. It is the first time census officials have reported an increase in the number of uninsured since 2009 – rising from a rate of 7.9 percent in 2017 to 8.5 percent in 2018. Officials attribute the increase to a reduction in the number of adults and children covered by public programs. The number of uninsured children rose by 425,000, or 0.6 percent, reaching 4.3 million children. Children living in the south are more likely than children living in other parts of the nation to be without health insurance, and Hispanic children are more likely than children of other ethnicities to be uninsured. Congressional Democrats used the new data to criticize the administration’s overall health care agenda and current support for a lawsuit that would overturn the Affordable Care Act (ACA), while highlighting their efforts to strengthen the 2010 health care law and stabilize health insurance markets.

Upcoming Congressional Hearings and Markups

Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights oversight hearing to examine enforcement of the antitrust laws; 2:30 p.m., 226 Dirksen Bldg.; September 17

House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies oversight hearing “Mental Health Needs of Children in HHS Custody;” 10:00 a.m., 2358-C Rayburn Bldg.; September 18

House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs hearing “Critical Impact: How Barriers to Hiring at VA Affect Patient Care and Access;” 2:05 p.m., 210 Capitol Bldg.; September 18

House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce hearing “Profits Over Consumers: Exposing How Pharmaceutical Companies Game the System;” 10:30 a.m., 2322 Rayburn Bldg.; September 19

House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing on the public health impacts and regulatory authorities related to e-cigarette manufacturing, sales, and use; time and place TBD; September 25

House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health field hearing on the public health threat posed by gun violence; time TBD, University of Chicago Medical Center; October 3

Recently Introduced Health Legislation

H.R.4228 — To expand and improve the programs and activities of the Department of Health and Human Services for awareness, education, research, surveillance, diagnosis, and treatment concerning rare diseases and conditions; Sponsor: Rep. Carson, Andre [D-IN-7]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce

H.R.4243 — To amend the Public Health Service Act to improve obstetric care in rural areas; Sponsor: Rep. Torres Small, Xochitl [D-NM-2]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce

H.R.4244 — To provide for a pathway for chemically synthesized insulin to be approved under an abbreviated new drug application submitted under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. Kelly, Mike [R-PA-16]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce

S.2443 — A bill to amend the Public Health Service Act to provide for investment in tomorrow’s pediatric health care workforce; Sponsor: Sen. Reed, Jack [D-RI]; Committees: Senate - Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

S.2446 — A bill to provide certain coverage of audiologist services under the Medicare program, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Sen. Warren, Elizabeth [D-MA]; Committees: Senate – Finance

H.Res.550 — Expressing support of the designation of September 2019 as Peripheral Artery Disease Awareness Month; Sponsor: Rep. Payne, Donald M., Jr. [D-NJ-10]; Committees: House - Oversight and Reform

S.2451 — A bill to amend chapter 171 of title 28, United States Code, to allow suit against the United States for injuries and deaths of members of the Armed Forces caused by improper medical care, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Sen. Kennedy, John [R-LA]; Committees: Senate – Judiciary

H.R.4281 — To amend chapter 17 of title 38, United States Code, to direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to allow a veteran to receive a full year supply of contraceptive pills, transdermal patches, and vaginal rings, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. Underwood, Lauren [D-IL-14]; Committees: House - Veterans’ Affairs

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