Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Kerry Says Census Statistics on Uninsured Americans Show Urgent Need for Action

The latest Census Report is out today, showing that although the poverty rate dropped in '06, "the percentage of Americans without health insurance coverage hit a record high."

Census officials attributed the rise in uninsured Americans to 47 million from 44.8 million in 2005 mostly to Americans losing employer-provided or privately purchased health insurance. The percentage of people who received health benefits through an employer declined to 59.7 percent in 2006 from 60.2 percent in 2005.

The percentage of people with government-provided health insurance also dropped, to 27 percent from 27.3 percent.

The number of uninsured children increased to 8.7 million, or 11.7 percent, in 2006, from 8 million, or 10.9 percent, in 2006.

Senator John Kerry made the following statement today in response to the Census Bureau’s report that 2.2 million more Americans became uninsured over the last year, including 700,000 additional children under the age of 18:

“As President Bush promises to veto kids’ health care and chips away at bipartisan efforts to insure low-income children and poor families, the health care crisis in this country is growing,” Senator Kerry said. “Today’s news serves as even more evidence that programs like SCHIP must be fully funded and extended to the growing numbers of uninsured Americans. Health care costs are soaring and our health care professionals are feeling incredible burdens. 47 million people in this country have no health care coverage, yet this President continues to choose tax cuts for millionaires over funding commonsense, workable programs that cover the poorest Americans. And now the administration proposes to limit the ability of states to extend SCHIP to vulnerable children of the working poor. It’s time for this President and his allies in Congress to stop playing politics and get their priorities straight.

“In Massachusetts the news has not been so grim—the number of uninsured has dropped dramatically because Gov. Patrick is implementing an innovative new program to provide quality health coverage for everyone. Massachusetts has set an example for the rest of the country -- now it’s time for Washington to do what’s right to reverse years of ignoring the needs of the uninsured, including rejecting the president’s latest effort to restrict access to SCHIP.”

Earlier this year, John Kerry introduced the Countdown to Coverage Act, which calls on Members of Congress to either pass legislation that would ensure quality coverage for every American by 2011 or be forced to pay the full cost of their federal insurance plan. Kerry also sponsored “Kids First,” a bill that would cover all uninsured children in the country and also introduce an amendment to SCHIP that would have fully funded the program to $50 billion dollars. Both of John Kerry’s efforts would be paid for by rolling back the Bush tax cuts for millionaires.

Access to affordable Healthcare should be a right not an option.

Cross Posted FromThe Democratic Daily.


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