Public health insurance programs have prevented a significant increase in the nation's uninsured population, primarily by absorbing more low-income children, as employer-sponsored coverage has declined, according to a study by the Center for Studying Health System Change. The percentage of Americans under age 65 with employer-sponsored coverage dropped to 63% in 2003 from 67% in 2001, a decline of 8.9 million people. The uninsured rate rose to 15% of the population in 2003 from 14.1% in 2001 but would have risen more if public insurance programs had not covered 5 million low-income children between 2001 and 2003, the report said. Read the report. -- by Tony Fong
Public health programs offset employer cutbacks
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