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Number of People in Poverty/Uninsured Rises in 2009

by Caroline DeRosa, Senior Director, Policy and Advocacy, Children's Health Fund

The U.S. Census Bureau released a few alarming statistics last week.  The first finding is that 43.6 million people, or 1 in 7, were in poverty in 2009, up from 39.8 million, or 13.2 percent, in 2008.  The second reported that the number of uninsured Americans jumped to almost 51 million in 2009, from 46.3 million uninsured in 2008. 

As we know all too well here at CHF, children living in poverty often do not get the medical care they need. Poor and underserved families face numerous barriers in accessing critically needed services, such as no insurance coverage or lack of transportation to get to the doctor.  Without access to regular health care, many children go without care for common ailments like asthma or cavities, which can lead to bigger and long term problems if left untreated. 

Statistics like these are an important wake up call for us all.  As the number of people living in poverty and those without insurance grow, the need for CHF's services grow. In addition, now, more than ever, it's essential to ensure that the critical pieces of health reform that were passed last year to help underserved children get care, are protected and not repealed.