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About the Issue

When Americans have no health insurance or cannot afford the rising deductibles or premiums of their current coverage, their care suffers. Our country is a great one, but a great one with 45 million uninsured Americans, of which over 8.5 million are children.

Too many Americans have inadequate access to services—this is a problem that extends beyond insurance coverage. Other major obstacles to care include language barriers, impaired health care literacy, and deficient cultural competency.

Background information

  • Are you writing letters about the issue of the uninsured to your Members of Congress or other elected officials? The AMA-MSS has put together some short paragraphs and statements regarding different aspects of this issue and potential solutions. These "talking points" are intended to be options that can be incorporated into your letter or communication. Please feel free to pick and choose from among these items to make your individual letter more personal.
  • The National Health Policy Forum is a great source for nonpartisan health-related information. They have a section on "The Basics," where you can learn about Medicare, Medicaid, tax credits, the Medicare prescription drug plan, and more.
  • The Kaiser Family Foundation is a private organization promoting research on the major health issues facing our nation. On their site, you can easily get information on U.S. and international health issues.
  • To review the finances of health insurance, see the August 2003 issue of the AMA Health Care Financial Trends report. In addition, the June 2004 issue discusses how America spends health care dollars.
  • The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has relaunched a Web-based resource tool, Protecting America's Uninsured, to demonstrate the variety of programs and services available to uninsured patients through the nation's medical schools and teaching hospitals.
  • Covering Kids and Families, initiated by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, supports and encourages the organization of thousands of activities, including health and enrollment fairs, in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to encourage parents to seek information about enrolling their eligible children in Medicaid or the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).