A grass roots effort in Ottawa County to collect personal stories of residents who’ve had frustrating experiences with the health care system was scheduled to wrap up June 27 with an event at Gem Beach in Catawba Island.
Twenty-three people met initially June 6 at the home of Nancy Beadle, Danbury Township, as part of the Organizing for America effort to share anecdotes about encounters they’ve had with the medical establishment.
“Since then about 30 people in the group have been interviewing people they know to get their stories,” Beadle said. “If we get a couple of hundred we’ll be doing very well. There is a lot of concern over this issue.”
Organizing for America, an offshoot of the Democratic National Committee, is giving local activists access to a “story bank,” an online collection of stories submitted by people detailing their problems with the current health care system. DNC Chairman Tim Kaine earlier this month recorded a video update on the effort to pass health care reform, urging viewers to share their personal stories.
A common refrain heard by those collecting stories locally was high costs, Beadle said.
“Costs are just skyrocketing,” she said. “They seem to be out of control. We need to do something to get that under control. A great number of us in Organizing for America favor a government option; a few of us favor very strongly a single-payer plan, which would be similar to Canada’s or England’s.”
The local effort has also drawn participants from Erie, Huron, and Sandusky counties, said Darrell Opfer, Oak Harbor, an Organizing for Change member.
With the permission of the interviewees, some of the information included in the stories may be shared with local social service agencies to help plan programs.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau report: Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the U.S. for 2007, which was released last August:
• The percentage of people without health insurance was 15.3 percent in 2007, down from 15.8 percent in 2006, and the number of uninsured was 45.7 million, down from 47 million.
• Approximately 10.2 million of the uninsured in 2006 were non-citizens; in 2007 that number was about 9.7 million.
• In 2006, about 9.3 million of the uninsured were from households with an income of $75,000 or more; in 2007 about 9.1 million were from households in that income range.
• The number of people with health insurance increased to 253.4 million in 2007, from 249.8 million in 2006. The number of people covered by private health insurance, 202 million in 2007, was not statistically different from 2006, while those covered by government health insurance increased to 83 million in 2007, from 80.3 million in 2006.
• The percentage and number of people covered by Medicaid increased to 13.2 percent and 39.6 million in 2007, from 12.9 percent and 38.3 million in 2006.
To view the report go to www.census.gov.