Findings Highlight Need for Comprehensive Health Reform
Roughly one in six North Carolinians lacked health coverage in 2007 and 2008, according to Census Bureau data released today. These findings, which will almost certainly worsen in 2009 because of the recession, highlight the need to enact comprehensive health care reform.
"These numbers demonstrate the need to pass comprehensive health reform this year," said Adam Searing, director of the North Carolina Justice Center's Health Access Coalition. "More and more North Carolinians are losing their jobs and their insurance. We must ensure that these families have access to affordable, quality health coverage regardless of age or health status."
Nearly 16 percent (15.9 percent) of North Carolinians were uninsured in 2007-2008, compared with 13.4 percent at the start of the decade (2000-2001).
The Census figures for North Carolina average two years of survey data in order to improve the reliability of the estimates.
The number of uninsured in North Carolina is likely to be much higher in 2009 because of accelerated job loss in the state resulting from the recession. North Carolina lost 42,000 jobs in 2008 compared to late 2007 but has already lost an additional 218,000 jobs through July of this year. (Since the start of the recession in December 2007, NC has lost, on net, at total of 260,000 jobs).
This year Congress should pass comprehensive health reform legislation that expands access to affordable, adequate health care, slows the growth in health care costs, and is paid for in a fair, responsible way.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Adam Searing, director, Health Access Coalition, 919.856.2568; Jeff Shaw, communications director, NC Justice Center, 919.863.2402 (office), 503.551.3615 (mobile).