Washington, D.C. – The Alliance of Community Health Plans (ACHP) asked policymakers to act on today’s release of the Census Bureau data on the number of individuals without health insurance coverage in light of the Institute of Medicine’s recent reports on the negative consequences of being uninsured.
“We keep getting ‘wake-up calls’ about the problem of the uninsured,” noted Jack Ebeler, President and CEO of ACHP, “but we always seem to press the ‘snooze alarm.’ It’s time to get up and act.”
The Census Bureau reports 43.6 million uninsured Americans in 2002. “We need to see that as more than just another statistic. ACHP members provide coverage and care to 12 million Americans in the community, and know from first hand experience how important good coverage is in assuring access to high quality care and service. A comprehensive series of reports by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) provides compelling evidence that there are serious, negative consequences of a lack of health insurance coverage,” noted Ebeler. The IOM reports (www.iom.edu) document the following:
- Uninsured individuals receive fewer services than the insured in all aspects of care — preventive, acute, and chronic — with negative impacts on health outcomes.
- There are negative consequences for families, and for communities with a high portion of their population without coverage.
- Finally, there are high economic costs for society as a whole. The potential economic value to be gained in better health outcomes from uninterrupted coverage for all Americans is estimated to be between $65 and $130 billion each year.