Growing Numbers of Uninsured

April 1, 2003

A recently released study, prepared by Families USA, estimates that during the last 2 years, 75 million Americans were without any health insurance for at least part of the time. Nearly 20 million people lacked coverage for the entire 24 months.

These figures show that the current health care system is completely failing to meet the needs of the people. Even though our country has built up a modern health care infrastructure, even though we have an army of trained health care workers, tens of millions of people are denied vital health care service. At the same time, even those who are insured face continually rising health care costs as well as cutbacks in services.

The problem is threefold. To begin with, the current health care system is organized on the for-profit basis. As the big HMO's keep monopolizing the industry, they are simultaneously raising insurance premiums and slashing services. Secondly, the vast majority of workers are covered under employer-sponsored plans but the employers keep shifting a greater portion of the costs onto the workers. Finally, the government keeps cutting back on Medicaid and Medicare -- the publicly-funded health care program which provide care for the poor and the elderly.

This situation must be changed. Health care is a basic right which must be available for everyone. Clearly our country has all the necessary resources to guarantee this right. What is needed is to take the profit motive out of health care and create a nationwide system, funded by the government, which provides universal, comprehensive and free health care.