Uninsured America Nearing Majority in Many Communities

October 30, 2011 § 1 Comment

Greece and it’s debt woes moved the stock market, Iraq and our involvement was on the news every day yet the populations of those two countries added together are smaller than the number of uninsured in the USA in 2010.  That number, 49.9 million and 16.3% , climbed in the opening decade of the 21st century. What impact is that having on our society and our communites and why aren’t we doing more to treat the uninsured?

The consequences of an uninsured epidemic are every bit as grave as war. Tragically, high numbers of uninsured increase mortality. New studies from Harvard Medical School show that someone dies from lack of health insurance every 12 minutes. Nearly 45,000 people die in America each year because they didn’t have enough money to see their family doctor for a preventable or treatable condition.  Our county’s infant mortality rate is an abysmal 27th among 30 industrialized countries in part because more than 800,000 pregnant women are uninsured.

The number of uninsureds unable to afford basic healthcare and prescribed drugs is reaching a majority in our communities. 45% of single mothers reported not going to the doctor when they needed to and 43% didn’t fill a prescription. 39% of Hispanic women didn’t go to the doctor as needed, 32% of all Black men hadn’t filled a needed prescription, 52% of the unemployed skipped seeing a doctor when they had to, and 47% of unemployed men were struggling to pay a medical bill. In fact, high percentages of all the above respondents profiled in Women and Men Living on the Edge: Economic Insecurity after the Great Depression were having trouble paying medical bills.

Healthcare is expensive but the cost of not providing healthcare is human lives. As our country withdraws from the long years fighting in Iraq I call for new daily headlines;  stories about the lives we can and are saving in America by solving healthcare inequities. Please join me. We don’t need medical specialists to heal our communities we need to come together and insist on change.

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