For Immediate Release

APHA Calls for Swift Response to Rising Number of Uninsured Americans

Cover the Uninsured Week 2005 to Be Held Nationwide May 1-8

Washington, D.C., April 27, 2005 - As a national supporter of Cover the Uninsured Week, the American Public Health Association (APHA) today expressed alarm that 45 million Americans -- 15.6 percent of the total U.S. population -- lack insurance coverage of any kind for an entire year. Eight out of 10 uninsured Americans either work or are in working families, according to federal data.

"In the wealthiest industrialized nation, 45 million Americans have no health insurance, including more than 8 million children," said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, executive director of the American Public Health Association. "This staggering statistic endangers the health of millions across the spectrum of society. Solving this crisis should be a top priority for our elected leaders, and we're committed to working toward comprehensive health care coverage for all Americans. Access to care is a right, not a privilege, to which every person is entitled."

People without health insurance do not receive routine preventive health services, receive too little medical care too late, are sicker and die sooner and receive poorer care when they are hospitalized. Also, when seeking care, they are often sicker and therefore more expensive to treat. Frequently, uninsured Americans seek care at the nearest hospital emergency room, which is an expensive and inefficient way to get care.

To address the growing crisis of the uninsured, APHA issued 14 points on universal health care. Included among these points is a call for the following:

  • Universal coverage for everyone in the United States with comprehensive benefits, affordable prices and quality services;
  • Organization and administration of health care through publicly accountable mechanisms to assure maximum responsiveness to public needs, with a major role for federal, state and local government health agencies; and
  • Attention to the organization, staffing, delivery and payment of care to the needs of all populations, including those confronting geographic, physical, cultural, language and other non-financial barriers to service.

More information about Cover the Uninsured Week is available at www.covertheuninsuredweek.com.

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