10 Million More In Poverty Because Of Medical Expenses, Census Reports

If you were to subtract the cost of health care expenses from family incomes, an additional 10 million more Americans would be considered in poverty by official measures, the U.S. Census Bureau said this week in a new report.

The “supplemental poverty measure,” which takes into account food stamps, federal subsidies, and work expenses, tries to give a richer picture of both the additional incomes and outflows that affect Americans’ pocketbooks. As this chart shows, the single-biggest driver of additional expenses is the aptly acronymed “MOOP,” which stands for “medical out of pocket expenses.” Here’s the whole report (PDF).

“This finding provides evidence that health care costs have become one of the most significant living expenses faced by poor families,” wrote The Commonwealth Fund Blog. “In a recent report, The Commonwealth Fund found that in 2010 fully half of working-age adults with incomes below poverty spent 10 percent or more of their income on out-of-pocket health care costs and insurance premiums, which is more than double the percentage of those who spent that much in 2001.”

Clearly it pays to not get sick in America.

New Census Poverty Measure Shows Medical Expenses Push 10 Million More Americans into Poverty [Commonwealth Fund]