Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Nearly a third of New Mexicans have no health care insurance

More than 31% of non-elderly adults in New Mexico are being left out in the cold with out any private coverage for medical care.

That percentage translates into 468,000 adults without health care insurance in 2008, and that's up from 363,000 in 2001 according to a U.S. Census Bureau report released last week. And, those numbers do not even include people who've lost their insurance after being laid off this year due to the economy.

Today, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius released a new analysis of last week’s U.S. Census numbers regarding the uninsured. Sebelius warned the U.S. health care system has reached a breaking point. She said:
The status quo is unsustainable, and continuing to delay reform is not an option. These numbers only serve to further confirm a reality that far too many American families live with every day.

The percentage of people with employer-based coverage also decreased, from 57.3% of the population in 2001 to 53.4% in 2008. The report also reveals more and more workers, some 281,000 people employed both full and part time, in New Mexico are not receiving any health insurance at the workplace. That's a jump from 26.9% in 2001 to 31.4%. Those numbers include 9,000 people from high-income households who are now uninsured.

Those sobering numbers seem to confirm that health insurance reform cannot wait another year. Nationwide, the number of uninsured increased from 39.8 million in 2001 to 46.3 million in 2008.


The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation issued a report showing the cost of private health care premiums are far outpacing the growth in employeewages:
Over the last ten years premiums have increased by 131%, while wages have grown 38% and inflation has grown 28%.
Sebelius notes, “In states across the country we’ve seen the health care coverage situation go from bad to worse. And, it’s clear that losing insurance isn’t a problem that plagues only the poor or the unemployed – it could happen to anyone.”

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