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Expand chart
Data: Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

Roughly 8.6% of Americans didn't have health insurance in 2020, a figure that has stayed consistent since 2018, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data.

Why it matters: Government assistance, in the form of beefed-up Medicaid eligibility and heavily subsidized plans in the Affordable Care Act markets, kept people insured despite the pandemic-fueled recession.

Between the lines: The Census Bureau said there was no statistically significant increase in Medicaid enrollment, but that's not quite right.

  • Other federal data show enrollment in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program soared by 14% from February 2020 to February 2021, totaling more than 81 million people.
  • Congress increased funds for Medicaid programs and said states could not kick people off Medicaid during the pandemic.
  • The Census Bureau's numbers are off from other federal data because the agency had trouble receiving responses for its survey due to the pandemic, especially from people with lower incomes who likely would be on Medicaid.

Reality check: While the uninsured rate didn't increase, 28 million people still didn't have any health insurance.

  • And uninsured rates did increase for certain subgroups, including Black children (4.6% in 2018 to 6% in 2020) and adults who live in states that did not expand Medicaid under the ACA (35.6% in 2018 to 38.1% in 2020).

Go deeper: Health insurers soak in pandemic-fueled Medicaid growth

Go deeper

Dec 24, 2021 - Health

CDC shortens COVID isolation period for health care workers

Photo: Ariana Drehsler/AFP via Getty Images

The CDC on Thursday shortened the recommended isolation time for health care workers who test positive for COVID-19 from 10 days to seven days if they're asymptomatic.

Driving the news: The new guidance follows calls by health officials for the CDC to shorten its recommendation on isolation for fully vaccinated people who test positive due to concerns about the Omicron variant.

Updated Dec 28, 2021 - Economy & Business

Omicron surge and storms disrupt air travel for 4th straight day

Photo: Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

Another 1,000 flights were canceled in the U.S. on Monday due to COVID-19 outbreaks among crews for a fourth straight day, with storms in the Pacific Northwest adding to the chaos, AP reports.

Why it matters: Thousands of customers have been affected by the latest pandemic-driven travel disruptions since Christmas Eve, with airlines including United blaming a "nationwide spike in Omicron cases" in recent days.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court rejects Trump's attempt to shield documents from Jan. 6 committee

Photo: Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images

The Supreme Court rejected on Wednesday night a bid by former President Trump to block the release of documents and records from his administration to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.

Why it matters: Trump asked the Supreme Court to step in and block the release of the documents last month after a panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit unanimously denied his attempt to prevent the committee from obtaining the materials.