According to the latest Census Bureau report, there were more than 41 million uninsured Americans in the year 2001, an increase of 1.4 million after two years of declining figures. Eight out of 10 were in working families. In most cases, the primary wage earner in the household either had a job that offered no health coverage or the premiums were unaffordable. In general, because the uninsured do not have access to needed medical care, they live less healthy lives and die younger than those with health coverage.
The JCPA has long been committed to a broad social justice agenda, including advocating for policies and programs to address the needs of disenfranchised vulnerable populations. In this time of economic downturn and with the focus on the War on Terrorism, new economic pressures are likely to swell the ranks of the poor and increase their needs.
Thus, in keeping with its commitment to support policies and programs that guarantee healthcare to all Americans, the JCPA
- continues to support with ever greater vigor the JCPA’s previous resolution calling for universal access to health care.
- supports efforts by Sens. Hatch (R-UT) and Wyden (D-OR) to establish a Citizens Health Care Working Group to facilitate public debate and plans to improve the health care system for Americans.
- joins the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the California Endowment, and their national partner organizations in supporting Cover the Uninsured Week, a week-long educational and advertising campaign to bring attention to the needs of those lacking access to affordable health coverage.
The community relations field should:
- Urge Congressional representatives to support legislative efforts to enact universal health care.
- Participate in health care community meetings sponsored by the Citizens Health Care Working Group.
- Educate the public on the lack of affordable health coverage, especially among working families.
- Join local coalitions supporting and participating in Cover the Uninsured Week and other similar activities, including town hall meetings, teaching events on campus, health fairs and interfaith events.