Buddha said that health is the greatest wealth. This measure of wealth is still out of reach for the nearly 28.5 million or almost 9% of the total US population that does not have health insurance. This number is less than the number that was uninsured before the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but more than what it was at the beginning of 2017. Essentially, some of the people that were covered under the ACA are now struggling to maintain coverage, mostly because of increasing premiums and fewer insurance providers in the marketplace.
For the majority with employer-provided insurance, this number may not seem important. However, there are real costs to being uninsured that affect everyone.
How Does Lack of Health Insurance Affect Everyone?
- ABC News reports that “Millions of uninsured Americans wind up seeking treatment in our over-stressed, under-staffed emergency rooms, where, by law, the uninsured must get treated. Ultimately, everyone who uses the health care system feels the consequences.”
- The Urban Institute projects that 137,000 people died from 2000 through 2006 because they lacked health insurance.
- The Institute of Medicine estimates that $65 billion to $130 billion is lost every year in wages and benefits because of the uninsured, but if insurance was provided to the estimated 46 million Americans who do not have it, it would cost $39 billion-$69 billion a year.
- The poor, ethnic/racial minorities and those living in communities with few health care options are hardest hit. Look at the number of uninsured by state below, and you’ll see a list composed of states that have many the poor and people of color living in the United States.
For today’s Mobilize Monday, WE CAN asks you to take the following steps to demand access to health insurance and care for EVERYONE.
- Apply for Coverage Under the Affordable Care Act. December 15th is the deadline to apply for coverage that begins on January 1, 2019. DO NOT delay, anyone who misses this deadline will have to jump through some major hoops to get coverage and many won’t be approved and will have to wait another year to apply.
- Share Your Healthcare Story to add to WE CAN’s pool of real-life examples we can share with the new Congress after the first of the year. Your stories help to make the data REAL for members and strengthen our ability to influence their decision making. Send a photo, a video file, or letter describing how your life has been affected, positively or negatively, by health care access issues.
Stay tuned! WE CAN will share more important steps you can take to educate your members of Congress about the importance of health care access in your community.
Founder and President