A common concern

As reported by Associated Press (AP), a recently released study by The Commonwealth Fund found that 41% of working-age Americans with moderate to middle incomes lacked health insurance. The study, conducted September 2005 through January 2006, states that as health care spending is climbing (more than 7 percent per year) so is the number of uninsured Americans. The Commonwealth notes:
This combination of eroding health insurance coverage and rapidly rising health care costs raises concerns about the ability of U.S. families to obtain timely medical care, protect their finances from catastrophic health care costs, and save for retirement.
According to their web site, The Commonwealth Fund is "a private foundation working to improve health coverage and quality...by supporting independent research on health care issues and making grants to improve health care practice and policy." Some of the currently available publications as free pdf downloads examine issues as: health insurance; health care quality; medicare; underserved populations; and keys to successfully adopting electronic health records. Their State Health Policy Overview area alone offers over ninety publications, including such titles as:
  • How States Are Working with Physicians to Improve the Quality of Children's Health Care (pdf, 2.6MB)
  • Federal Aid to State High-Risk Pools (pdf, 113KB)
  • State Approaches to Promoting Young Children's Healthy Mental Development (pdf, 815KB).
Topical and worthy of review is their online newsletter, States in Action: A Quarterly Look at Innovations in Health Policy, published in HTML and providing updates, snapshots and focused profiles of state level actions.

In the summary to the health insurance gap study, Commonwealth echoes their foundation's main concern and focus:
It is clear from the findings of this survey and from prior research that the health care - and ultimately the health and productivity - of the U.S. population is being damaged as the nation's insurance problem continues to grow. Real solutions that build on group forms of coverage already in place...will help to fill insurance gaps with meaningful, affordable coverage that helps link families and providers.

Gaps In Health Insurance: An All-American Problem
(available in pdf, 195KB, from The Commonwealth Fund)

A multimedia presentation summary, by lead author Sara R. Collins, Ph.D., senior program officer and director of the Fund's Program on the Future of Health Insurance is also available.

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