Health care|September 14, 2009 12:11 PM

No health insurance: Statistics

  • 850,000 do not have health insurance in Colorado, according to a report in September by the U.S. Census, which found 17.2 percent of the state’s population lacking insurance.
  • Two-thirds of Americans filing for personal bankruptcy cite medical costs as a reason, according to a Harvard Law School survey.
  • Colorado families living below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level – that’s an annual income of $41,000 or less and represents one quarter of the population — have little if anything to spend on health care after paying for necessary expenses, according to “The Cost of Care: Can Coloradans Afford Health Care,” commissioned by the Colorado Coalition for the Medically Underserved.
  • Some 80,000 Colorado children younger than 18 are eligible for health coverage through Medicaid or Children’s Health Plan Plus, but haven’t been enrolled, according to the Colorado Health Institute.
  • In the past year, Colorado has lost more than 100,000 jobs, leaving an unemployment rate of close to 8 percent – the highest in 22 years – according to the state Department of Labor.
  • Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter has said he needs to cut $32.9 million from Colorado’s 138 clinics that receive government funds to deliver health care to the poor and uninsured. The Colorado Health Foundation has filled in some of that shortfall with $20 million in grants; federal stimulus money is helping to build new centers, but the cuts in state funds are making it hard for the new centers to hire doctors and nurses.
  • This summer, $21 million was lopped from a pot of money meant for the uninsured, according to state budget officials. Also, cuts were made in reimbursement rates to the clinics, dental practices and pharmacies that serve the poor.


  • I have a close relative who works for a temp agency. Jobs from there pay at various levels, but are typically under $10 an hour, closer to 7-8. After rent, utilities, food, gas, car insurance, etc. there is not much money left over for health care. Insurance is not an option. A doctor was able to charge at a 30% discount for a recent cold, coming to $100 after the discount. Time to research options, money to pay even that rate, and other issues make the situation virtually impossible for him. Luckily he is single. If his situation is not addressed by health care reform it will not be the best solution. Sadly, his situation is not as bad as the dilemmas many people experience. Affordability according to income level is the bottom line in health care reform, it seems to me. Given the track record of health insurance companies and the unbelievable profits and reserves they enjoy, the solution clearly cannot be entrusted to them. Given the nearly total failure of the private, for-profit insurance sector (doctors, I am convinced, would serve the public willingly in a more sane reimbursement system) it falls to the government to provide for its citizens this basic right of health care. The three key concepts in all of this are “affordabilty,” “not-for-profit,” and “health care as a basic human right.”

  • Every week we work with moms-to-be who are insured or underinsured. It’s heartbreaking to see what our “healthcare system” (better name – segmented health insurance system) does to new families.
    As the stats above state, 2/3 personal bankruptcies cite medical costs as a reason. In Colorado, 1/3 of our hospital visit days are maternity and newborn related at an average cost of $11000.00 per day (Denver Post, Oct 2008), so it’s possible that 22 percent (1/3 * 2/3) of all Colorado bankruptcies are maternity related. Even if the number is half that, like 10%, its ridiculous how our “segmented health insurance system” derails new families with crushing large costs.
    For those without insurance, pregnancy is a preexisting condition that usually can’t get coverage, so our uninsured working families can quickly become the working poor. This is not a sustainable way to run a country.
    Many thanks to Colorado Public News for highlighting these issues.

  • A much wiser idea is to take a long hard look at the entire health insurance industry and then work to remedy the situation by taking out the waste and creating new, innovative ideas that would be a benefit for all.

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