CITIZENS RALLY FOR HEALTH CARE TOMORROW-NEW STATS SHOW 82 MILLION UNINSURED-Andrew Stelzer

06/18/04

37 percent of American children and more than a third of senior citizens have no health insurance, according to a new study; these statistics are much higher than those issued by the census bureau, and they are fueling a growing movement in Florida and across the country for a change to our system of healthcare. WMNF’s Andrew Stelzer has more.

ACT-USA Unless there are significant changes, the 82 million it’s likely to get worse, Ron Pollack is the executive director of Families USA.

Official census figures show that 43 million Americans don’t have health insurance, but a report issued by Families USA, says that number should be almost doubled, to 82 million. The families USA report used the same census data, but it counted at people who were insured at some point during the year, not the entire year. It examined 2002 and 2003. And the number of working people who are uninsured is a rising; in Florida, 80 percent of the people who went without insurance at some point were members of working families.

ACT-Pollack “Of the 82 million who were uninsured, 82 million are working families. This is a problem of those who work.

That comes as no surprise to Jonathan Hess, director of South Florida Jobs with Justice, who is helping organize a march in Miami tomorrow.

ACT-Hess ‘Here in Miami

There are about 600 workers at Pan American hospital.

ACT ‘Back in February of this year, the workers voted to form a union so that they could negotiate a contract.

Tomorrow is a national day of action called “bridge the gap.� people across the country will be marching across bridges to symbolically show the need to bridge the gap and provide health insurance who are falling behind. Hess says the movement to support them has brought together labor groups, consumer advocates, and faith-based organizations.

ACT ’Well have a delegation of clergy and religious leaders…

ACT “Especially healthcare providers, this is the first time were working with them,..it goes to show the crisis is effecting every one except the healthy and wealthy, the healthcare providers are getting involved…people are ending up in the hospital.

Pollack from Families USA, says tomorrows day of action, along with the new study showing the changing demographics of Americans without healthcare, makes this Novembers election a time for a change in perception about the need for all Americans to be covered.

ACT-Pollack What really surprised us was the income levels, if you look at a family of 4, so there may be some change.

There are events scheduled for Saturday in 12 Florida cities. Locally people will be gathering in new port Richey at 11am at the Gulf view Square Mall, to educate the public..citizens are asked to bring a sign regarding a health care matter.

For more information about the Bridging the gap day of action, or healthcare organizing in south Florida, you can contact Jobs with justice at 305-623-4900 or go to www.bridgingthegapforhealthcare.org/

For WMNF news, I’m Andrew Stelzer

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