(CNN) - In his State of the Union address Wednesday night, President Barack Obama picked up on the health care theme with a bleak prediction, saying: "By the time I'm finished speaking tonight, more Americans will have lost their health insurance. Millions will lose it this year."
Will millions of Americans lose health insurance in 2010?
The CNN Fact Check Desk found that the answer may depend on how much higher the unemployment rate goes.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 58.5 percent of Americans were covered by employment-based health insurance as of 2008. That suggests a strong link between the unemployment rate and the number of people without health insurance.
Last year, U.S. employers eliminated 4.2 million jobs, and while some workers may have been able to continue their insurance benefits under the government-subsidized COBRA plan, most observers agree that millions of Americans lost their health insurance.
If the U.S. economy continues to shed jobs at the same rate in 2010, it's likely that millions more will lose their health insurance. On the other hand, if the economy begins to add jobs in 2010, it's possible that the number of Americans who lose their health insurance will be lower than the millions estimated.