A report released today by Families U.S.A. says nearly 686,000 Iowans were without insurance at some time during 2007-2008. That equates to nearly 27% of Iowans without insurance which is above the 11% cited during a recent federal health care summit.
Families U.S.A. executive director, Ron Pollack, says their study looked more in depth at the issue. He says the number is higher because they didn’t just look at the people who were uninsured for one year, they looked at people who may’ve been insured for six months or nine months.
Pollock says the numbers cover a two year period, but they did not double count people. Pollock says they look at everyone in Iowa under the age of 65. Pollock says the most important thing to note is that the overwhelming majority of people who lost or lacked health insurance, 84.9%, were in full-time or part-time working families.
Pollock says they also looked at the numbers for people who were 200-percent below the federal poverty line. The annual income for a family of four at that level is $42,400. He says 51.3% of the people below that level were uninsured at some point in the last two years, while those above that line — 18.9% were uninsured at some point during the two years.
Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, a Democrat, is on one of the three Senate working groups developing a bill to revamp the healthcare system. Harkin joined Pollock in talking with the media — and says the numbers show the need to get something done this year.
Harkin says the senators have reached out and had a lot of hearings and will hopefully have the bill ready to go to the Senate floor in July and hopefully have something passed before the August recess. Harkin was asked about how they will address those workers who lose their job and their ability to keep their insurance.
Harkin says they are looking at a “blend” that keeps employer provided insurance, but it would be fully portable, so if you got laid off or lost your job, you could keep your healthcare plan no matter where you go. The Families U.S.A. report was based on data from the Census Bureau’s current population survey. You can see the whole report here .