Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who accompanied President Obama on his trip to Minneapolis over the weekend, just released a new analysis of the latest Census numbers regarding the uninsured.
The results, which found that the number of uninsured jumped from 39.8 million in 2001 to 46.3 million in 2008, "only serve to further confirm a reality that far too many American families live with every days," says to Secretary Sebelius. "Our health care system has reached a breaking point. The status quo is unsustainable, and continuing to delay reform is not an option."
The Minnesota-specific analysis of the data confirms what we’ve been saying all along: Minnesota needs health insurance reform and we need it now.
- The status quo is not an option. The number of uninsured in Minnesota has increased from 370,000 in 2001 to 444,000 in 2008. The percent of non-elderly adults without insurance increased from 9.4% to 11.1%. And this number only considers people who are uninsured for an entire year – it does not include people in Minnesota who have more recently lost coverage through the recession, or who had shorter gaps in their coverage.
- Private coverage is eroding under the status quo. The percentage of people with employer-based coverage decreased from 84.3 % of the population in 2001 to 76.8% in 2008.
- More workers are being left without protection from health care costs. Too many workers in Minnesota do not have health coverage, at 290,000 in 2008. And the proportion of workers from Minnesota without insurance has increased, from 8.9% in 2001 to 10.6% in 2008.
- The problem of the uninsured is a problem that crosses income brackets. The new Census numbers also drive home the fact that everyone in Minnesota is vulnerable to losing health insurance. An additional 12,000 from high-income households are now uninsured.
At the Target Center on Saturday, President Obama called for health insurance reform that brings stability and security to those with insurance and affordable coverage to those who don’t, including the choice of a public health insurance option. But if we’re going to make President Obama’s vision a reality, we need to take action now. Populista over at the Minnesota Progressive Project explains how:
We are closer than ever to winning. 4 out of 5 congressional committees have passed health reform that meet the President’s principles, hundreds of thousands of Americans have contacted their representatives for health reform in 2009, hundreds of thousands of Americans showed up at health townhalls this August and made suporters of reform outnumber the teagbaggers, 6905 have donated to representatives who stood up for the public option, and many more have taken action in other ways.