The number of Americans without health insurance in 2002 rose to 43.6 million, or about 15 percent of the population, as an additional 2.4 million people lost coverage due to unemployment and employer cutbacks in coverage. The percentage of the uninsured was still lower than the recent peak in 1998, when 16.3 percent of U.S. residents were uninsured, according to Census Bureau data.
The loss of health insurance reflects unabated increases in healthcare costs. Healthcare spending per privately insured person increased 9.6 percent in 2002, four times faster than the pace of overall inflation, according to a recent study by the Center For Studying Health System Change, a Washington, D.C.-based research group. This rise is actually down slightly from the ten-percent increase of the year before.