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Public Statements

Cover the Uninsured Week

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

COVER THE UNINSURED WEEK -- (House of Representatives - April 01, 2009)

(Mr. BARROW asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute.)

Mr. BARROW. Madam Speaker, I rise today to call attention to the rising number of uninsured in America. Right now, nearly 50 million Americans have no health insurance. That is nearly one in six. One in six.

These aren't just numbers on a page. This has real effects on the rest of us, because when millions of Americans who have no health insurance get sick enough, they end up in the emergency room of the nearest hospital. But the care they get there costs six times as much as preventive care--and is far less effective.

Those of us who pay the full cost of our health care end up picking up the tab for the care we provide the uninsured in the emergency room. That's just one reason we as a Nation pay far more for health care than we get back in return. In fact, on average, every American spends about $900 each year to pay the cost of treating the uninsured badly. That is pure waste.

There are some good signs coming out of the current health care debate. Congress and this President have already extended health coverage to an additional 4 million children this year by enacting a bipartisan expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program.

We waited too long to address this problem. We've paid a huge price by not confronting it sooner. I look forward to working with the President and my colleagues on commonsense solutions that will extend coverage to all Americans.

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