Ranks of Uninsured Growing

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In case anyone was under the illusion that the health insurance situation is improving in this country, a recently-released Commonwealth Fund report sets things straight. 37 percent of low-income workers are currently uninsured, up from 33 percent in 2001. And the number of low-income workers who have gone without insurance at some point in the past year is 53 percent. This despite the fact that Medicaid is ostensibly supposed to help cover this group (it doesn’t, of course, and has way too many gaps to be fully effective, but that’s another story).

“Moderate income” workers, making between $20,000 and $40,000 a year, aren’t doing too well either—the number of uninsured has risen from 17 percent five years ago to 28 percent today. And this all matters: more than half of all uninsured adults have debt or medical bill problems. 59 percent of uninsured adults with a chronic illness had to skip a treatment or a prescription. Those adults are much more likely to go to an emergency room than those with insurance. It’s a crisis.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

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It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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