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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

16 hours ago - Health

FDA approves Pfizer boosters for high-risk individuals, people 65 and up

Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus booster shots for people at high risk of severe COVID-19 and people 65 years and older.

Driving the news: The approval comes just days after an FDA advisory panel recommended boosters for the two groups but overwhelmingly voted against the third shots for younger Americans.

Mormon Church to mandate masks in temples

The San Diego California Temple in La Jolla, California. Photo: RBL/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images via Getty Images

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints told its members on Wednesday that all patrons and workers will be required to wear face masks at all times while in the temple.

Why it matters: It's the Mormon Church's latest effort to encourage masking and vaccination among its over 16.6 million members around the world.

13 hours ago - Health

Asymptomatic Florida students exposed to COVID no longer have to quarantine

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis during a September news conference in Viera, Fla. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced Wednesday an emergency order allowing parents to decide whether their children should quarantine or stay in school if they're exposed to COVID-19, provided they're asymptomatic.

Why it matters: People infected with COVID-19 can spread the coronavirus starting from two days before they display symptoms, according to the CDC. Quarantine helps prevent the virus' spread.