For Immediate Release
For more information, please contact APHA Communications at (202) 777-2509 or mediarelations@apha.org .

New Census Data Show Record Number of Americans Lack Access to Health Care, Underscore Need to Fully Implement Health Reform

Statement from Georges C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP (E)  Executive Director, American Public Health Association

Washington, D.C., September 16, 2010 – “According to an annual report on the uninsured released today by the U.S. Census Bureau, more Americans are burdened by a broken health care system and beleaguered economy than ever before. The report reveals 50.7 million Americans do not have health insurance, which is a sharp increase from 46.3 million uninsured estimated in 2008.

“This is exactly why full implementation of health reform is so urgently needed. Having access to quality, affordable health care should be a basic right not a privilege for all Americans, yet the bleak data paint a different picture. Our health care system has been failing the American public for too long. Unfortunately, given the economic downturn and anemic job market, even more Americans could face the desperate plight of losing their insurance down the road.

“The record number of uninsured Americans underscores the need to fully implement every single lifesaving provision included in the new health reform law. The law will provide millions of Americans access to quality, affordable coverage they desperately need, decrease incidence and mortality rates of the nation’s leading chronic diseases, and control the nation’s soaring health spending.”

The report’s data reflect nationwide estimates from 2009, before health reform was enacted into law in March 2010.

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Founded in 1872, the APHA is the oldest, largest and most diverse organization of public health professionals in the world. The association aims to protect all Americans and their communities from preventable, serious health threats and strives to assure community-based health promotion and disease prevention activities and preventive health services are universally accessible in the United States. APHA represents a broad array of health providers, educators, environmentalists, policy-makers and health officials at all levels working both within and outside governmental organizations and educational institutions. More information is available at www.apha.org.