News Release

Health Care: · Record Uninsured · Latinos · California Battle

Bloomberg is reporting on new government data showing that “the number of people living in the nation without medical insurance rose 2.9 percent to a record 46.6 million in 2005 as health-care costs climbed.”

CLAUDIA FEGAN, MD
Co-author of the book Universal Health Care: What the United States Can Learn from the Canadian Experience, Fegan is past president of Physicians for a National Health Program. She said today: “The number of uninsured went up by 1.3 million people last year. How many is too many? How long until the government acts in a meaningful way?

“Many have become callous to the plight of poor people, but now it’s the middle class that is losing ground the fastest: The number of uninsured people making between $50,000 and $75,000 per year rose the fastest, by 600,000 people, to 8.3 million (14.1 percent of this income group).” Fegan is director of ambulatory care at Provident Hospital in Chicago.
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OLVEEN CARRASQUILLO, MD
Carrasquillo is director of the Center for Health of Urban Minorities at Columbia University. He said today: “Lack of coverage among Hispanics is the greatest health disparity issue for the Latino population. Band-aid solutions are clearly failing the Latino community and are no longer tolerable.

“Some 32.7 percent of all Hispanics are uninsured, compared with 19.6 percent of blacks (7.2 million people), 17.9 percent of Asians (2.3 million people), and 11.3 percent of non-Hispanic whites.”

Carrasquillo is also active with Physicians for a National Health Program and is co-founder of Latinos for National Health Insurance.

JERRY FLANAGAN
Health care policy director with the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, Flanagan noted that Monday “the California Assembly passed universal health care legislation for the first time ever in its history that will cut out insurers and unnecessary middlemen and cover everyone in a public insurance pool.

“By removing insurance company waste and profiteering, SB 840 is expected to save Californians $8 billion each year off what we are currently spending and provide coverage to the 6.5 million Californians who lack coverage.”

Flanagan is participating in a news conference with other organizations including the California Nurses Association and California Physicians Alliance today outside the Los Angeles office of California Governor Schwarzenegger, who has said he will veto the bill.
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167