The Uninsured States of America
Nearly 48 million Americans had no health care coverage in 2005, and the number will
continue to grow if this country does not enact new policies to defuse this crisis (Families USA
2). Families USA, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization that advocates for public health
contracted with Dr. Kenneth Thorpe, Professor and Chair of the Department of Health Policy
and Management at Emory University, to analyze data from the U.S. Census Bureau and other
national databases to study the fiscal impact on this country of so many uninsured people. This
study, released in June 2005, found that the overwhelming majority of uninsured people are
workers in low-wage jobs (Families 10). With the advent of national welfare reform in 1996,
millions of people entered the low-wage workforce and lost their Medicaid eligibility. According
to Judith Feder, Dean of Policy Studies at Georgetown University, “Since most people leaving
welfare find themselves in low-paying jobs without coverage, loss of public coverage leaves them
without health coverage altogether” (Feder 29). Moreover, many corporations, pressured by
global competition to hold down labor costs, are increasingly asking their employees to share a
greater portion of the escalating cost of health insurance premiums, if employers offer benefits at
all. In fact, a study by the Commonwealth Fund reports that more than one-quarter of workers in
companies with over 500 employees do not receive employer-based coverage, and that one in
every three full-time workers with incomes below $35,000 is uninsured (Commonwealth 1).
Low-wage workers are therefore caught in an untenable situation. They do not qualify for
Medicaid and cannot afford to buy hea...
... middle of paper ...
..."The State of Health Care." The Heritage Foundation. 21 January 2004.
The Heritage Foundation. 13 Mar. 2006
"Paying a Premium." Families USA. 1 June 2005. Families USA. 20 Mar. 2006
Rowland, Diane. Committe on Ways and Means. 9 March 2004. House Committee on Ways and
Means. 13 Mar. 2006
"The Uninsured: A Primer." Kaiser Family Foundation. 1 January 2006. Kaiser Commission on
Medicaid and the Uninsured. 20 Mar. 2006 .
Wilson, Katherine. "Snapshot: Health Care Costs 101, 2005 Edition." CHCF. June
2005. California Health Care Foundation. 13 Mar. 2006