Health Insurance Reform Cannot Wait
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today released a new state by state analysis of last week’s U.S. Census numbers regarding the uninsured. The results are sobering and confirm that health insurance reform cannot wait another year.
“These numbers only serve to further confirm a reality that far too many American families live with every day,” said Secretary Sebelius. “Our health care system has reached a breaking point. The status quo is unsustainable, and continuing to delay reform is not an option.”
The facts below underscore the urgency of health insurance reform.
* Nationwide, the number of uninsured has increased from 39.8 million in 2001 to 46.3 million in 2008.
o With the exception of Massachusetts – which enacted its own version of health insurance reform in 2006 – every state in the nation has seen its uninsured population grow or remain unacceptably high from 2001 to 2008. These numbers don’t even include those who have lost their insurance in the recent recession or have had coverage gaps of shorter than a year.
o In nearly every state, private coverage is eroding with the percentage of people covered by employer-based coverage decreasing.
* The new numbers also drive home the frightening reality that losing health insurance could happen to any of us.
o Across the nation, more and more working Americans are uninsured, left without protection from health care costs.
o Even among high-income households, the ranks of the uninsured are rapidly growing.
“In states across the country, we’ve seen the health care coverage situation go from bad to worse,” Secretary Sebelius added. “And it’s clear that losing insurance isn’t a problem that plagues only the poor or the unemployed – it could happen to anyone.”