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

New U.S. census data show rise in number of uninsured Americans, underscoring importance of Affordable Care Act

Statement from Alan Baker, interim executive director of the American Public Health Association

Washington, D.C., September 13, 2011 – “According to data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau on income, poverty and health insurance coverage, 49.9 million Americans are uninsured, which increased slightly from 49 million in 2009.

“Too many Americans lacked health insurance. It’s a tragic situation exacerbated by slow economic growth, a high rate of unemployment and a broken health system that is still not meeting the health needs of our nation. APHA is also deeply concerned about the alarming decline of working Americans with employer-based health insurance. According to new data, 55.3 percent receive coverage through their employer, down from 56.1 percent in 2009.

“Since the Affordable Care Act was enacted, we’ve made tremendous progress in improving the delivery and financing of health services in the United States. And thanks to this historic piece of legislation we’ve already seen countless Americans benefit from a number of lifesaving provisions already implemented, including a ban on excluding coverage due to a pre-existing condition as well as a requirement that all health plans must allow children to remain on their parents' plans until age 26. Yet, with 49.9 million lacking access to quality, affordable care, we still find ourselves in a dire situation.

“On behalf of the entire public health community, APHA calls on Congress to fully implement and fund the main public health and coverage provisions included in the Affordable Care Act that take effect in 2014.“

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Founded in 1872, the APHA is the oldest 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.