Loss of health insurance hits Texas middle class hard

The number of middle-class Texans without health insurance increased 41 percent between 2000 and 2008, with nearly 500,000 middle-class workers no longer covered through their job or private insurance, according to a study released today by the nonpartisan Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Texans made up about 1 in 5 middle-class Americans who lost health insurance during that period, according to the study.

The results indicate that America's middle class — with income of about $45,000 to $85,000 — lost insurance faster than those with less or more income, particularly in Texas.

"The facts show that everyone is suffering right now, regardless of income," Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, the foundation's president and chief executive, said in a written statement. "It's a crisis in need of solutions."

The study is being released as Congress works to vote as early as this week on a final healthcare overhaul bill and in conjunction with what the foundation has deemed Cover the Uninsured Week.

The study was conducted by the State Health Access Data Assistance Center at the University of Minnesota and was based on information from the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

According to the report, only California reported more middle-class residents without health insurance in 2008 than Texas. But the increase there has been much slower, with only 10 percent more middle-class uninsured residents since 2000.

Overall, the number of middle-class Americans without health insurance increased more than 2.3 million during that period, the report shows.

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