St. Louis area Congressman Russ Carnahan says it’s a growing problem in Missouri. He says this points to the bigger problem of the current healthcare system.
Carnahan says his district encompasses city, suburban and rural constituents and while he’s heard opinions from all sides on reform, he thinks most agree that the insurance system needs to be overhauled and the healthcare system as it is now isn’t working.
The Families USA Report says nearly 700,000 Missourians are uninsured.
Carnahan the study shows the problem with most people only being able to get health insurance through their jobs … and the need for reform. About 60 percent of Missourians get insurance through their jobs, he says, so when they lose their job, other options such as COBRA are too cost prohibitive.
Under this legislation, he says, “if you lose your job or change jobs, you wouldn’t lose coverage,” and the bill would “make it illegal to be denied coverage just because you got sick.”
According to the report, unemployment in Missouri Rose from an Average of 6.1 percent in 2008 to an Average of 8.8 percent in 2009, resulting in more uninsured
Nationwide, the unemployment rate in 2008 averaged 5.8 percent, ranging from 4.8 percent to 7.2 percent. In 2009, the unemployment rate through August rose to an average of 8.9 percent, ranging from 7.6 percent to 9.7 percent. The average number of people unemployed in 2008 was just under 9 million, and this average has grown so far to 13.7 million in 2009, Families USA reports.
“People who receive a pink slip experience a double whammy,” said Ron Pollack, Executive Director of Families USA. “They not only lose their jobs but they usually lose their health coverage as well. That’s why health care reform is so important. It will protect America’s families when they lose or switch jobs.”
The Families USA report compares the percentage of uninsured adults in 2009 with the Census Bureau’s average annual percentage of uninsured adults for the three-year period of 2006 through 2008. According to the analysis, the percentage of uninsured adults in Missouri grew from 15.7 percent to a projected 18.7 percent in 2009.
“The loss of a job is a terrible blow to working families, but when health insurance is lost along with the job, it is a devastating one-two punch,” Pollack said. “The uninsured are less likely to get the care that they need when they need it, and they may face a financial catastrophe when medical bills start to pile up.
“An economic downtown exposes the tragic flaws in our health care system, revealing that the health and well-being of American families can be put in jeopardy overnight, despite their best efforts and their best plans to protect themselves. It is clearly time for change.”
The following five states have suffered the largest percentage point increase in working-age uninsured adults: Oregon (from 22.0 percent of working-age adults to 25.1 percent, a 3.1 percentage point increase), Michigan (from 15.7 to 18.7 percent, a 3.0 percentage point increase), South Carolina (from 20.7 to 23.4 percent, a 2.7 percentage point increase), Nevada (from 22.1 to 24.8 percent, a 2.7 percentage point increase), and North Carolina (from 21.4 to 24.0 percent, a 2.6 percentage point increase) (see Table 4 on pages 6-7).
Jessica Machetta reports. [Download / listen Mp3] carnvaweb