(May 2004) – The W.K. Kellogg Foundation joined more than 20 funders in organizing and supporting the largest mobilization in history to secure stable and affordable health care coverage for all Americans, including the nearly 44 million uninsured Americans. Eighteen philanthropies, including The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The California Endowment, are providing financial or in-kind support for Cover the Uninsured Week, a foundation–led effort taking place May 10-16, 2004. Nearly 1,500 activities are planned in communities from coast to coast. The Week is designed to make certain that health care coverage for all Americans is a top domestic priority in the United States. The foundations and the campaign do not endorse a specific proposal for expanding health coverage, but all agree that securing stable health coverage is a goal our nation must achieve.
“America’s local communities need to be actively engaged, if we are going to solve this problem. Cover the Uninsured Week is active in hundreds of communities across the country, making it the largest and most diverse effort of its kind in history, ” said William C. Richardson, president and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. “Unless American communities act in unison, more Americans will join the ranks of the uninsured.”
Of the nearly 44 million Americans living without health coverage –8.5 million are children. In 2002, the number of people without health coverage increased by more than 2 million, the largest one-year increase in a decade. Unfortunately, the problem won’t get better soon. Rising health care costs continue to undermine the ability of individuals, businesses and state governments to purchase health care coverage. Reversing this disturbing trend, elevating this issue on the national and local agendas, educating Americans about the problem and providing immediate assistance to the uninsured and small business owners are the goals of Cover the Uninsured Week 2004.
Community Voices, a Kellogg Foundation initiative focused on providing access to health care for the uninsured and underinsured, is managed by the National Center for Primary Care at the Morehouse School of Medicine.