Helping those who cannot afford insurance

Nearly 46 million Americans-including more than 8 million children-have no health insurance and gamble each day that they won't get sick or injured, and the problem is getting worse. As health care costs continue to rise, every family's health care coverage could be at risk. Chances are someone in most families either is or has been uninsured.

That's why millions of Americans with diverse viewpoints are putting politics aside and taking action. Organizers of Cover the Uninsured Week-the largest campaign in history to focus attention on the need to secure health coverage for all Americans-are asking Americans from all walks of life to talk with their friends and neighbors and demand that our leaders make health coverage for all Americans their top priority. The campaign is also looking to ensure that people who are uninsured get enrolled if they are eligible for coverage programs.

"Too many Americans are living without access to health care-worrying every day that they will become injured or sick and bankrupt their family," says Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., M.B.A., president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a convener of Cover the Uninsured Week. "Living without health coverage is a gamble that no one should have to take. Americans need to come together to stress the need for action. But until our lawmakers find solutions, we need to ensure that no one misses an opportunity to obtain low-cost or free coverage because they didn't know about it."

Hundreds of Cover the Uninsured Week enrollment events will be held at hospitals, medical centers, malls, community centers, on campuses and in places of worship nationwide. Volunteers will help enroll uninsured adults and children in public programs that provide low-cost or free coverage to those who are eligible. In addition, information about local help available will be distributed.

"People who have health insurance cannot afford to take it for granted. As costs increase, fewer individuals, families and businesses can afford to pay for health care coverage," said Lavizzo-Mourey. "Community and state leaders are doing what they can to help those living without access to health care, but this is a national problem that demands national solutions. With no solutions on the immediate horizon, all Americans -regardless of their insurance status-need to get involved and make their opinion count."

Cover the Uninsured Week is supported by nearly 200 national organizations-including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, AFL-CIO, American Medical Association, AARP, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, and the United Way of America-and more than 2,500 local organizations located in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Activities will take place May 1-7 in communities across the country. Log on to www.CoverThe to locate events.

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