Rising Number Of Uninsured Destabilizing Michigan’s Health Care

The number of uninsured children and adults in Michigan is rising and destabilizing the state’s health care delivery system. More than one million people in Michigan — one of every 8 people, including 160,000 children — are uninsured. Leaders from throughout the region representing insurers, health systems, labor, business and the faith community will come together to advocate for change as they launch Cover The Uninsured Week in Michigan at a special News Conference and Health Expo for the Uninsured, Monday, March 23 at Cobo Center from 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM (News Conference at 10:30 AM).

“With the economy worsening, working families are losing access to care, forcing children and adults to put off care for chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes until a health crisis warrants costly emergency care,” says Garry Faja, President and CEO, Saint Joseph Mercy Health System and East Michigan Regional Executive of Trinity Health, Novi, Mich. “This situation is not sustainable. We must advocate for change at the federal level to make healthcare delivery more efficient while bringing everyone into the system.”

Highlights of Cover The Uninsured Week include

* Monday, March 23: News Conference at 10:30 a.m. in the Riverfront Ballroom at Cobo Center. Participants will include Janet Olszewski, Michigan Department of Community Health; U.S. Congressman John Dingell (invited); Wayne County Executive Robert A. Ficano; City of Detroit Mayor Kenneth Cockrel, Jr.; Garry Faja, Trinity Health; and Marianne Udow-Phillips, Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation.

* Monday, March 23: Health Expo for the Uninsured, 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. in the Riverfront Ballroom, Cobo Center. Free. Open to the public. More than 3,000 people are expected to attend the day-long community event featuring more than 100 exhibitors that provide services ranging from health insurance enrollment in for children and adults, to free and low cost health screenings, to primary care and mental health services, to home care and senior services, to prescription drug information. The Health Expo for the Uninsured is being co-sponsored by Wayne County Department of Health & Human Services, Wayne County Health Choice, the City of Detroit Department of Health & Wellness Promotion, Project Healthy Living, Wayne County Four Star, and the Michigan Cover the Uninsured Network.

* Monday, March 23: Children’s Health Insurance, 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at Cobo Center. Learn about low-cost or free health care programs for the uninsured, including enrollment training on how to help someone you know apply in programs such as MIChild and Healthy Kids. Sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the Michigan Department of Community Health. To register, call 1-248-448-4466 or kevery@bcbsm.com.

* Thursday, March 26, Interfaith Prayer Breakfast, 7:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church, 2080 West Grand Blvd. The event is free but reservations required. Sponsored by the Interfaith Health & Hope Coalition. Contact: Ron Beford at (810) 923-6940 or rbeford@yahoo.com.

Events during Cover The Uninsured Week are coordinated through the Michigan Cover The Uninsured Network (MCTUN) with a goal to raise awareness and advocate for affordable health coverage for the uninsured. MCTUN focuses on education, advocacy and improving access for the uninsured. Cover The Uninsured Week, March 22 – 28, is a national non-partisan effort to advocate for access to health care for 46 million uninsured nationally.

Cover the Uninsured Week 2009 sponsors include: Trinity Health, Novi, Mich., Henry Ford Health System, Beaumont Hospitals, St. John Health, DMC Children’s Hospital, Detroit Regional Chamber, University of Michigan Health System, Michigan Business & Professional Association, Michigan Health & Hospital Association, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Michigan State Medical Society, Michigan Association of Health Plans, Omnicare Health Plan, Midwest Health Plan, Molina Healthcare, ProCare, Health Plan of Michigan, Health Plus of Michigan, AARP, American Cancer Society-Great Lakes Division, Michigan Nurses Association, Clark Hill PLC, Wayne County Health Choice, Wayne County Medical Society, Total Health, Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation, Greater Detroit Area Health Council, Karmanos Cancer Institute, Health Alliance Plan, Upper Peninsula Health Plan, Wayne County Four Star, Michigan Catholic Conference, I.U.O.E. Local #547, Michigan State AFL-CIO, Michigan Primary Care Association.

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