Religious leaders, philanthropists, businessmen and medical workers are joining hands this week to raise awareness for American healthcare issues -- one of the largest social problems confronting the world’s wealthiest nation today. Unofficially dubbed "Cover the Uninsured Week," the May 1-8 campaign is dedicated to addressing the plight of some 45 million Americans who cannot afford proper insurance and consequently lack access to necessary medical-benefits.
More than 1,200 events nationwide have been scheduled by individuals and organizations hoping to raise awareness and prompt legislative action for this critical issue.
"We are morally obligated to speak and act," commented Dr. Eileen Lindner, National Council of Churches (NCC) deputy general secretary and chair of the National Interfaith Advisory Board for Cover the Uninsured Week. "We are morally bound to advocate for our uninsured neighbors, many of whom needlessly suffer because they don't get the medical care they need."
According to statistics provided by the "Cover the Uninsured Week" website, nearly a sixth of the total American population is uninsured. Of the ratio of uninsured Americans, 80 percent are either working or residing in working families.
“Being uninsured means going without needed care. It means minor illnesses become major ones because care is delayed," a statement from the website read. "Tragically, it also means that one significant medical expense can wipe out a family's life savings."
“The problem is getting worse. As the price of health care continues to rise, fewer individuals and families can afford to pay for coverage,” it continued. “Fewer small-businesses are able to provide coverage for their employees, and those that do are struggling to hold on to the coverage they offer.”
The campaign events include kick-off news conferences, health and enrollment fairs, small-business owners and campus seminars, and interfaith activities.
Some of the major Christian groups participating in the event include the National Council of Churches and the Episcopal Church USA.
For more information, visit: www.covertheuninsuredweek.org.