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Expand chart
Data: U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

Health care expenses forced 8 million Americans into poverty in 2018, according to the Census Bureau.

The big picture: That's actually an improvement from the past several years, when an annual average of 11 million people fell into poverty because of medical costs — a reflection of the country's expensive system.

How it works: The Census Bureau tracks how various social programs and daily expenses influence poverty rates.

  • Social Security, SNAP benefits and housing subsidies are among the most effective anti-poverty programs.
  • But year after year, medical expenses remain "the largest contributor to increasing the number of individuals in poverty," according to the Census Bureau.
  • Most people who have insurance and who make less than 150% of the federal poverty level don't have enough liquid assets to cover a $1,500 deductible.

The bottom line: People who don't have insurance have the highest risk of falling into poverty, due to the high prices of drugs and procedures.

  • But even working Americans who have coverage are facing bleaker financial futures because employers have shifted more health care costs onto their shoulders.

Go deeper: Other developed countries limit out-of-pocket medical expenses

Go deeper

14 mins ago - World

Report: "Clear evidence" China is committing genocide against Uyghurs

The scene in 2019 of a site believed to be a re-education camp where mostly Muslim ethnic minorities are detained, north of Kashgar in China's northwestern Xinjiang region. Photo: Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images

Chinese authorities have breached "each and every act prohibited" under the UN Genocide Convention over the treatment of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in China's Xinjiang province, an independent report published Tuesday alleges.

Why it matters: D.C. think-tank the Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy, which released the report, said in a statement the conclusions by dozens of experts in war crimes, human rights and international law are "clear and convincing": The ruling Chinese Communist Party bears responsibility.

Updated 2 hours ago - Technology

Twitter sues Texas AG Ken Paxton

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton at February's Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Twitter on Monday filed a lawsuit against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R), saying that his office launched an investigation into the social media giant because it banned former President Trump from its platform.

Driving the news: Twitter is seeking to halt an investigation launched by Paxton into moderation practices by Big Tech firms including Twitter for what he called "the seemingly coordinated de-platforming of the President," days after they banned him following the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.

7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Senate retirements could attract GOP troublemakers

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Roy Blunt's retirement highlights the twin challenge facing Senate Republicans: finding good replacement candidates and avoiding a pathway for potential troublemakers to join their ranks.

Why it matters: While the midterm elections are supposed to be a boon to the party out of power, the recent run of retirements — which may not be over — is upending that assumption for the GOP in 2022.