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The New Jersey Life Sciences Vendors Alliance (NJLSVA) is a coalition of businesses, individuals and academia who provide goods and services to New Jersey’s life sciences companies.

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Census Bureau: Uninsured Rate Fell to 8.7% Last Year; 66,000 More Jerseyans Insured

Washington, DC, September 13, 2017 — Louise Radnofsky reports in The Wall Street Journal that the share of people in the U.S. who lacked health insurance for the whole of 2016 declined to 8.8 percent, the Census Bureau announced Tuesday.

This was down from 9.1 percent the previous year, largely due to Americans aging into the federal Medicare program for people 65 and older.

The rate reflects around 28.1 million people without health coverage, a decrease from 29 million a year earlier, hitting a new low that has also been reflected in other government and private surveys.

In New Jersey, according to Disha Raychaudhuri in The Star Ledger, about 66,000 more people in the state had health insurance in 2016 than the previous year, according to the Census report.

In 2013, Gov. Chris Christie became the eighth Republican to have their state join the ACA’s Medicaid expansion plan. The Census bureau noted that the drop in uninsured population may be due to this expansion.

Between 2015 and 2016, the number of people without health insurance decreased in 39 states, and the uninsured rate in New Jersey decreased from 8.7 in 2015 to 8 percent in 2016.

These latest insured/uninsured Census figures mark a modest drop in the number of uninsured people following sharper declines in previous years due to the implementation of provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

The law required many people to obtain insurance or pay a penalty while also expanding access to private insurance plans and the federal-state Medicaid program for the poor.

In 2013, about 41.8 million people lacked health insurance, a number that dropped to 33 million in 2014 as ACA provisions kicked in.

In the latest figures, Census Bureau officials said that the shift between 2015 and 2016 largely reflected an expansion of coverage through Medicare, which covers older Americans and some disabled people.

The Census Bureau said that the rate of Medicare coverage increased by 0.4 percentage point to 16.7 percent of people for part or all of 2016, up from 16.3 percent the year before.

The Census Bureau also announced that real median household income increased by 3.2 percent between 2015 and 2016, while the official poverty rate decreased 0.8 percentage points.

Median household income in the U.S. in 2016 was $59,039, an increase in real terms of 3.2 percent from the 2015 median income of $57,230. This is the second consecutive annual increase in median household income.

The nation’s official poverty rate in 2016 was 12.7 percent, with 40.6 million people in poverty, 2.5 million fewer than in 2015.  The 0.8 percentage point decrease from 2015 to 2016 represents the second consecutive annual decline in poverty.

The 2016 poverty rate is not statistically different from the 2007 rate (12.5 percent), the year before the most recent recession.

For Radnofsky’s full story, click here.

For Raychaudhuri’s full story, click here.