The following is the statement of Kathleen Stoll, Health Policy Director of Families USA, about the Census Bureau's newly released findings that the number of uninsured Americans rose to 45.8 million during 2004:
Once again we see a significant increase in the number of people without health coverage. Under the Bush Administration, the number of uninsured Americans has escalated from 41.2 million in 2001 to 45.8 million in 2004.
The huge number of uninsured Americans now exceeds the cumulative population of 24 states plus the District of Columbia.
The percentage of people covered by employer-sponsored health insurance decreased from 60.4 percent to 59.8 percent from 2003 to 2004. At the same time, the percentage of people covered by government health insurance programs rose from 26.6 percent to 27.2 percent, offsetting the loss of employment-based coverage.
Public programs such as Medicaid and SCHIP (State Children's Health Insurance Program) are the healthcare safety net for millions of Americans. Had it not been for these programs, the number of uninsured would have increased even more in each of the past several years.
Now, more than ever, it is important to protect the programs that offer health care to our most vulnerable populations. Unfortunately, the President and Congress are poised to move in the wrong direction: Instead of finding solutions for the uninsured, they are proposing significant cuts to Medicaid.
Cutting Medicaid funding puts the most vulnerable children, seniors, and people with disabilities at risk of joining the ever-growing ranks of the uninsured."
Read More at Families USA