Layoffs increase the ranks of the uninsured

Thanks to Joe Martinez for sending the link to an interesting, though sobering, report from the Jim Lehrer NewsHour about the health care implications of the 2 million layoffs in the U.S. over the past three months. One example comes from a single mom whose job was outsourced, leading her to make difficult choices such as going without her arthritis medication for six months:

We don’t go bowling anymore, but I think the most important thing that I had to give up was doing without my medication, because I don’t have insurance now. I can’t afford to pay for my medication for my rheumatoid arthritis. And before my daughter got her insurance, it was either I buy my medicine or my daughter’s medicine, who has a heart condition and epilepsy. And her medication is $180 for one bottle. So I gave up my medicine to be able to buy her medicine.

You can read, view or listen to how layoffs are affecting people here.

Also highlighted in the clip is analysis supported by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, which found that:

Unemployment and Health Insurance

A one percent rise in the nation’s unemployment rate is projected to lead to 1.1 million additional uninsured and 1 million new Medicaid enrollees (600,000 children and 400,000 adults), increasing overall state Medicaid spending by $1.4 billion while tax revenues fall 3 to 4 percent.

For more information on that analysis, go here.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in the U.S. went up 1.6 points from September 2008 to January 2009, which would mean according to these estimates that the number of people without health insurance increased by about 1.7 million. Clearly, the economic meltdown is affecting all sectors of our society and placing strains on already-overburdened safety net systems.

Published by Bill

Social justice advocate and collaborative leader

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