By Rebecca Bowe
Some commentators were greatly reassured by President Barack Obama’s speech on health care reform yesterday, while others thought he spent too much energy answering to Republican critics. (In case you missed it, you can find the full text and video here.) As the debate rages on in D.C., health-care reform advocates across the country are weighing in to push for meaningful reform.
A statement from the National Coalition on Health Care highlights a U.S. Census Bureau report that was released earlier today. It offers a glimpse of how the severe recession has eroded health-care coverage, and made it more difficult for people to afford health insurance.
A few of the key findings:
· The total number of people without health insurance coverage jumped from 45.7 million in 2007 to 46.3 million in 2008.
· There were 39.8 million people in poverty in 2008, up from 37.3 million in 2007. The 2008 poverty rate was the highest since 1997.
· The real median household income in the United States fell 3.6 percent between 2007 and 2008, from $52,163 to $50,303.
The report doesn’t even begin to address the impacts of job losses and economic instability that have continued through 2009.
“We need, without delay, to pass comprehensive health care reform legislation this year,” NCHC stated, “before our uninsured crisis deepens further.”