Health insurance gap widening

February 24, 2009 6:38:47 PM PST
A well-respected health agency says the crisis of the uninsured in America is getting deeper and broader.

The number of Americans without health insurance continues to climb, and is having a growing impact. And the longer the economic recession continues, the more difficult the situation will become.

A sobering report from the Institute of Medicine says the number of people even being offered insurance through their employers is declining, and picking up speed.

Those who do get insurance from their employer now pay an average of $3350.oo, double the price of 10 years ago. In 2007, nearly 1 in 10 children, and 1 in 5 non-elderly adults had no health insurance.

The report says those agencies trying to fill the gap for the uninsured can't keep pace.

Robert Reischauer, Ph.D., an IOM committee member, says, " We can't assume that those who don't have health insurance somehow can get adequate care. The emergency rooms, free clinics, the other safety net providers just can't provide the kind of care Americans need to remain healthy."

The institute says having a lot of uninsured in a community makes it hard for those WITH insurance to get good care.

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