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Medical News & Perspectives
November 14, 2001

Report on Uninsured Tries to Reverse Myths

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JAMA. 2001;286(18):2223-2224. doi:10.1001/jama.286.18.2223

Washington—Saying that the jumble of health insurance schemes in the United States "functions more like a sieve than a safety net," the Institute of Medicine (IOM) issued a report that paints a bleak picture of the nation's uninsured. Nearly 18% of the country lacks health coverage—some 32 million to 42 million people, a number exceeding the combined populations of Texas, Florida, and Connecticut.

The insurance gap hits working families (those with at least one worker) particularly hard, according to the report. A full 80% of uninsured persons under age 65 live in working families; many survive on low wages from service jobs. Families with two wage earners fare better, but 10% of those lack coverage.

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