Affordable Access for All

The number of uninsured Americans rises daily, accelerated by the current economic downturn. There are 46 million Americans without health insurance, and another 25 million who are uninsured.1  And four out of five of those individuals were in working families. More than 8 million children under the age of 18 were uninsured in 2007.2 

It is a fact that significant numbers of Americans do not enroll in public health programs  for which they are eligible, so corrective policy must address and overcome barriers to participation, as well as coverage expansion.3  For example, only 18-26% of people who are eligible for COBRA in a given year enroll.4

Regardless of the cause however, the negative health consequences from lack of insurance coverage are well-documented.  The Institute of Medicine reports that compared to people with insurance, uninsured children and adults experience worse health and die sooner.5

Beyond the moral crisis created by declining rates of insurance, it is also a financial crisis.   Hospitals and other health care providers seek to recoup some of the cost of caring for the uninsured patients to third-party payers, both public and private.  In 2005, premiums for employer-provided family health insurance included an extra $922 in annual premiums to cover care for the uninsured. Premiums for individual coverage ran an extra $341.6