Rep. Grijalva Joins House Democrats in Recognizing “Cover the Uninsured Week” 2008
Washington , D.C. — This week marks the beginning of ‘Cover the Uninsured Week,’ an opportunity to highlight this critical problem that affects over 47 million Americans and hopefully bring some momentum for viable solutions. Since President Bush took office, 8 million more Americans lack health insurance, while 9 million of our children remain uninsured.
All across the country, our emergency health care systems are being overburdened as healthcare costs increase and families and individuals are forced to limit their access to preventive and primary care. In the face of stagnant wages and ever-increasing health insurance premiums, today, nearly 52% of uninsured Americans say that they do not have health insurance because it is too expensive.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), America ’s health care system ranks 37th in the world. As employers continue to scale back coverage, many Americans cite medical bills and illness as the number one cause for bankruptcy.
“Our current health care system as is, one based on private plans and rising co-payments is rife with inequalities, inefficiencies and inaccessibility”, said Rep. Grijalva. “This tragic injustice must be reversed and new commitment for comprehensive health care for all Americans must be forged. Insuring all Americans have access to quality, affordable and reliable care is a fundamental human right and must reflect our national priorities.”
Three comprehensive health bills that Rep. Grijalva supports will do the following:
· Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act – This bill would establish a unique American universal health insurance program with single payer financing. As a publicly financed, privately delivered health care system that improves and expands the already existing Medicare program, it would be available to all U.S. residents, and all residents living in U.S. territories. With this bill, Americans would not be burdened with co-payments, premiums or deductibles. Rather, they would be guaranteed access to medically necessary health care, including inpatient and outpatient care, dental care, vision care, pharmaceuticals, and other treatments that a patient’s doctor would deem necessary
· Health Partnership Act- This bill would break the Congressional logjam by allowing a diverse array of ideas to be tried in specific states. Test strategies that span the political spectrum to see which are most effective, while protecting Americans already enrolled in programs. Additionally, it would expand health care coverage to Americans in need of health care.
· Healthy Kids Act of 2007- This bill provides enough resources to ensure that no child who is currently enrolled in SCHIP loses coverage. Specifically, the legislation will provide financial incentives and resources to states to increase enrollment in Medicaid and SCHIP. States that implement five policies to streamline the enrollment process would receive an increase on their federal matching rate for children’s coverage in Medicaid and SCHIP. Additionally, this legislation will provide states with new options to expand coverage to hard-to-reach populations.
Grijalva stated, “ These initiatives are critical, as they w ould provide assistance to over half of all uninsured Americans. Unfortunately, President Bush’s proposed health savings accounts, association health plans and his persistent and unwavering efforts to block Democratic attempts to reauthorize the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) do little to remedy our national crisis. Access to high quality health care is a fundamental right and we must ensure this right is extended to all Americans.”