New data: 1 in 6 Arkansans lacks health insurance. The percentage of people covered by employer-provided health insurance in Arkansas is declining.
Care to do something about it, Congressman Ross? Or just keep meeting with Lord Boustany on ways to defeat the Democratic president?
NEWS RELEASE: ARKANSAS ADVOCATES FOR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES
Roughly one in six Arkansans lacked health coverage in 2007 and 2008, according to Census Bureau data released today, and employer-provided health insurance continued to decline statewide.
The percentage of Arkansans with employer-provided coverage was 54.8 percent, down from 61 percent in 2000 and 2001. The data reflect the beginning of the recession and will likely worsen in 2009, said Rich Huddleston, executive director of Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families.
“National health reform will offer a crucial lifeline to Arkansas families during these turbulent economic times,” Huddleston said. “They need that lifeline now; they cannot wait until next year.”
Erosion of employer-sponsored health insurance is the primary cause of the decrease in coverage, which in turn reflects the rising cost of health care, according to an AACF analysis. Both employers and employees are having greater difficulty affording health insurance.
As working parents lose their jobs and employers cut back benefits, many families are finding themselves uninsured. For families with emergency or chronic health conditions, lack of health coverage can be financially devastating when they are already struggling.
When parents lose insurance, the affect on children is even more devastating. Without coverage, children are no longer able to access critical, preventative care they need, such as immunizations and screenings, to ensure they grow up healthy.
“This year Congress needs to pass comprehensive health reform legislation that expands access to affordable, adequate health care, slows the growth in health care costs, and is paid for in a fair, responsible way that helps Arkansas families,” said Elisabeth Wright Burak, AACF health policy director.
The data were released today by the Census Bureau and represent the only data available on state health insurance trends over time. AACF will have more detailed numbers on child insurance and poverty rates in coming days.