Broad Coalition of Groups Launches $10 Million Campaign to Address ‘Crisis’ of the Uninsured
As expected, a broad coalition of employers, unions, insurers, providers and consumer advocates kicked off a $10 million campaign yesterday to ease the national "crisis" of the uninsured, the Los Angeles Times reports. The "strange-bedfellows coalition," made up of organizations ranging from the Business Roundtable to the AFL-CIO, released data showing that 2.2 million Americans have lost their health insurance in the past year, on top of the more than 39 million who were uninsured as of 2000. The recent increase in the number of uninsured is the largest in a one-year period since the nation's last recession in 1992, according to Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, a member of the coalition (Kemper, Los Angeles Times, 2/13). "This is a health crisis of massive proportions and it's getting worse," Steven Schroeder, president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said. The foundation is funding the "Covering the Uninsured" campaign, which will feature advertising on television and the Internet as well as in magazines and newspapers (Rovner, CongressDaily, 2/12). The ads will highlight certain health care problems and outcomes, noting that "when you're uninsured, life turns out differently" (Los Angeles Times, 2/13). Schroeder said the coalition members -- which CongressDaily reports "rarely agree on anything health related" -- "aren't putting aside their differences, they're rising above them." Spokespeople for the organizations said that any solution to the problem of the uninsured would likely have to combine public and private elements. Video excerpts from the Covering the Uninsured campaign are available at pnm://126.96.36.199/188.8.131.52/CHL/uninsuredCHL020213.rm.
Meanwhile, the Association of Academic Health Centers yesterday announced its own $250,000 education campaign on the uninsured. The association will focus on CHIP and Medicaid through legislative briefings, health screenings and enrollment sessions. Gregory Eastwood, chair of the organization's board, said, "We have the same goal" as the Covering the Uninsured campaign, "but we are trying to bring a new sector into the game" (CongressDaily, 2/12). According to Dr. David Ramsay, president of the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, teaching hospitals have only 6% of the nation's hospital beds but provide half of all uncompensated care (Los Angeles Times, 2/13).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.