2020 is an important year for Americans. In addition to voting in a presidential election, they will also participate in the 2020 Census, a count of every person living in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories. Despite the changes in day-to-day life due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it’s critical to complete the census.
The census is more than just a population count. The results of the census determine the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives and are used to draw congressional and state legislative districts. Census results also impact our communities in a big way — the data determines how more than $675 billion dollars per year in federal funding will be allocated for the next decade. An accurate census count helps ensure that federal funding is appropriately distributed.
Census Results Affect Health Care Program Funding
Federal dollars are used to help fund schools, provide food assistance, pay for infrastructure, and a variety of other programs and services, including health care. For example, data compiled through the census helps determine funding for hospitals and emergency services, which is vital in preparing and dealing with critical situations, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic.
While you may not realize it, the 2020 Census is important for health care and affects you and your family’s health. Results from census data help determine funding for some of the largest health care programs and services including:
- Block grants for community mental health services, the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, and preventive health and health services
- The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
- The Health Center Program (this program determines which groups in which areas are underserved)
Driving Health-Related Data
In addition to the population count, the Census Bureau collects detailed social and economic data through the American Community Survey (ACS). Together, the census and the ACS produce data and inform surveys that are important to health care providers and health insurance companies. They rely on this data to make decisions regarding the products and services they provide and use to serve the community’s needs.
Some of the health-related data that the census and ACS produces includes demographic info, such as age, race, and sex, and social determinants of health, which are the conditions in the environment in which people are born, grow, live, work, and play. This data is used to help ensure more fair access to health care. The ACS also produces data that measures uninsured rates and Medicaid and Medicare coverage.
Every Person Counts
Independence Blue Cross believes that health care is a right, not a privilege. Help build healthier communities and ensure your community gets its fair share of federal health care funding. When you receive your request in the mail to respond to the 2020 Census, be sure to participate!