Catholic Health Association Responds to Census Figures on the Uninsured: Important Not to Be Misled By Declining Uninsured - These Are Not Today's Numbers

Aug 26, 2008, 01:00 ET from Catholic Health Association of the United States

    WASHINGTON, Aug. 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- While the number of
 uninsured people in the U.S. reportedly decreased in 2007, the estimates
 released by the U.S. Census Bureau today were captured before the economic
 downturn took hold, before energy prices skyrocketed and when the States
 Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) appeared to be slated for
 expansion and reauthorization.
     "The news today that 45.7 million people are uninsured, 1.3 million
 less than in 2006, while positive, should not be viewed as current progress
 toward solving this crisis," said Sr. Carol Keehan, DC, president and CEO
 of the Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA). "The U.S.
 economy was in better shape when this data was collected and states were
 expanding enrollment of low-income children in Medicaid and SCHIP."
     Sr. Carol added: "Since then, SCHIP expansion has been vetoed twice,
 the housing and banking crises have created huge economic problems and
 there has been an abrupt rise in oil costs with serious economic fallout.
 In 2008, we have seen massive layoffs in many diverse industries.
     "In 2007, the insurance data was already demonstrating a decline in the
 number of people who had private insurance and the number who had
 employer-based insurance. Given the current economic downturn, we can only
 assume the number of people insured in the private sector has continued to
     "Current economic realities underscore the need for comprehensive
 health care reform worthy of our country. Whether it is the poor or the
 stock market or anything in between, all are suffering from our failure to
 enact real health reform.
     "Remember, 45.7 million of our family members, neighbors and friends
 were uninsured in 2007. This is tragic by any standard. It represents
 untold suffering by many hardworking Americans that we as a nation can and
 should respond to. We must bring all stakeholders to the table and work
 together to develop a reform plan that is compatible with our national
 values and protects the dignity of each and every person in this great
 nation," Sr. Carol said.

SOURCE Catholic Health Association of the United States