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Catholic Health Association Responds to Census Figures on the Uninsured: Important Not to Be Misled By Declining Uninsured - These Are Not Today's Numbers

WASHINGTON, Aug. 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- While the number of uninsured people in the U.S. reportedly decreased in 2007, the estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau today were captured before the economic downturn took hold, before energy prices skyrocketed and when the States Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) appeared to be slated for expansion and reauthorization.

"The news today that 45.7 million people are uninsured, 1.3 million less than in 2006, while positive, should not be viewed as current progress toward solving this crisis," said Sr. Carol Keehan, DC, president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA). "The U.S. economy was in better shape when this data was collected and states were expanding enrollment of low-income children in Medicaid and SCHIP."

Sr. Carol added: "Since then, SCHIP expansion has been vetoed twice, the housing and banking crises have created huge economic problems and there has been an abrupt rise in oil costs with serious economic fallout. In 2008, we have seen massive layoffs in many diverse industries.

"In 2007, the insurance data was already demonstrating a decline in the number of people who had private insurance and the number who had employer-based insurance. Given the current economic downturn, we can only assume the number of people insured in the private sector has continued to decline.

"Current economic realities underscore the need for comprehensive health care reform worthy of our country. Whether it is the poor or the stock market or anything in between, all are suffering from our failure to enact real health reform.

"Remember, 45.7 million of our family members, neighbors and friends were uninsured in 2007. This is tragic by any standard. It represents untold suffering by many hardworking Americans that we as a nation can and should respond to. We must bring all stakeholders to the table and work together to develop a reform plan that is compatible with our national values and protects the dignity of each and every person in this great nation," Sr. Carol said.

SOURCE Catholic Health Association of the United States
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