Thursday, March 26, 2009

March 22-28th is Cover the Uninsured Week

March 22-28th is Cover the Uninsured Week. This nationwide effort aims to find ways to increase the dialogue about reforming our nation’s health care system. The goal is to provide affordable health insurance to the 45 million Americans who are currently uninsured.

As wages remain stagnant and other basic costs continue to rise, the skyrocketing price of health care consumes a greater amount of every American's budget each year. With more and more families faced with difficult financial decisions during these economic times, something has to give. Unfortunately, too many Americans are forced to choose between providing their family with basics like groceries and rent or health care. This is wrong.

The rising cost of health care is not only a burden for families and businesses, it is an increasing strain on our federal budget. In Arkansas, the number of uninsured has grown to 485,000 individuals. In addition, each year approximately $56 billion in uncompensated care for the uninsured is absorbed by our nation's health system, driving up the cost of insurance for everyone.

Our country's economic recovery and global competitiveness depends on finding a way to provide American businesses and families access to quality, affordable health care. Cover the Uninsured Week reminds us that we must take swift, smart action to provide the growing number of uninsured Americans the health care they are unable to afford. Access to health care is a right, not a privilege for a select few and we must do everything we can to reverse this unfortunate trend.