Nearly 9 million more Americans are uninsured since the nation last attempted comprehensive health care reform in 1994, according to a study released March 23 by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “The case for reform couldn’t be clearer,” said RWJF President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D. More than 6 million of the increase was among working people.
Prepared by the State Health Access Data Assistance Center at the University of Minnesota, the study compares U.S. Census Bureau data on the uninsured from 1994-1996 with data from 2006-2007. Over the period, the percentage of non-elderly Americans with private health insurance dropped to 67% from 73%, while average employee costs for individual health insurance rose nearly eight times faster than average incomes.
The report was released in conjunction with Cover the Uninsured Week, a RWJF campaign to raise awareness about the 46 million Americans without health insurance and enroll eligible uninsured children and adults in low-cost or free health coverage programs.