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Houston nonprofit The Rose determined to help uninsured women receive breast cancer treatment

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted millions of lives in many ways, one of which is the severe cut back in the number people keeping up with their routine checkups. Houston-based nonprofit group The Rose, which has been helping women receive breast cancer diagnoses and treatments for over 35 years regardless of their ability to pay, is determined not to give up on its mission.

Dorothy Gibbons, CEO and co-founder of The Rose, said the marked increase in the number of people putting off their mammograms was disastrous since early detection was the key to stopping cancer in most cases.

“We are conducting our screenings while observing social distancing,” said Gibbons. “We’re at 75 percent of what we normally would be doing. Some of our ladies are having to wait a bit to get their mammogram.”

The Rose operates two clinics in Houston and Bellaire respectively where women, insured or uninsured, receive diagnostic and treatment services.


“Here’s the way it works, our 3-for-1 model,” she said. “Three insured women allow us to screen one uninsured woman.”

October is Breast Cancer Awareness according to the World Health Organization. Under normal circumstances, the landscape would be dotted with cheering crowds in pink t-shirts, attending sporting events, flaunting pink ribbons and wristbands, all purchased for the purpose of raising awareness about the dreaded disease. It’s also when free screenings, mammograms and pamphlets of information are made available on college campuses and fitness centers.

Gibbons advised young women to start getting routine breast exams.

“Our youngest (patient) that we’ve diagnosed was 19,” she said. “This past year, we did diagnostic workups on about 2800 women under 40, and we diagnosed 61.”

This year, contagion fears have brought public gatherings to a to a halt. Moreover, millions of people have lost job-based health insurance.

“Many women will not go find out what’s going on in their breast because they’re thinking, I don’t have any money, I don’t have any insurance, how can I pay for treatment?’” Gibbons said. “You see there are programs available, and our patient navigators will get the uninsured woman in the program. So, there’s so many things that people don’t know are available when they put it [checkup] off, when you get into late stage breast cancer, and that a lot harder to treat.”

The Rose is also determined to host fundraising events, such as its annual shrimp boil. Instead of a large public gathering, they are hosting “Drive Thru Shrimp Boil” at their Southeast location on Oct. 10, with a goal of raising $50,000.

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10 States With Greatest and Least Uninsured Rates | Best States

The Supreme Court is poised to debate the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act – a law that has helped some 20 million Americans gain health care coverage – in November. If struck down, fluctuations in the rates of uninsured adults across all 50 states are likely to follow. But in a year where the coronavirus pandemic has ravaged societal strata from the working class to the presidency, health insurance is a safety net most can’t afford to do without.

According to a recent WalletHub survey of uninsured rates by state, places in the Northeast and Great Lakes regions perform in the low single digits for percentages of uninsured adults, while states in the South tend to have rates in the double digits. The national average uninsured rate for adults is just over 10%.

The study cites overall uninsurance rates according to 2019 U.S. Census data in order to determine these rankings, as well as providing state data based on race, age and income. In general, Black and Latino residents tended to have higher rates of uninsurance by state. This disparity grew especially stark at the bottom of the list in Texas, where some 28% of Hispanic residents were uninsured, compared to about 10% for whites.

Here are the 10 best states for health coverage:

  1. Massachusetts
  2. Rhode Island
  3. Hawaii
  4. Vermont
  5. Minnesota
  6. Iowa
  7. New York
  8. Wisconsin
  9. Pennsylvania
  10. Michigan

Massachusetts topped the list for best health coverage, with only 3% of adults uninsured. And in 10th place, Michigan had 6% of adults uninsured. Meanwhile, North Carolina’s uninsurance rate for adults was nearly 13%, putting it in 41st place. Texas ranked last in terms of uninsurance rates, with as many as 20% of adults lacking health coverage.

Here are the 10 worst states for health coverage:

50. Texas
49. Oklahoma
48. Georgia
47. Florida
46. Mississippi
45. Wyoming
44. Alaska
43. Nevada
42. Arizona
41. North Carolina

Even in states with higher percentages of uninsured adults, overall uninsurance rates have been dropping since 2010. In Massachusetts, the rate decreased by roughly 1%, suggesting an already high insured rate there 10 years ago. Texas’ overall uninsurance rate dropped by more than 5% since 2010, while the same metric decreased nationally by more than 6%.

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CDC study: More Americans were uninsured even before pandemic

The number of working-age Americans without health insurance was rising even before the coronavirus pandemic struck the U.S. and left millions unemployed, according to a new study the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released Wednesday.

The study from the CDC found that 14.5 percent of adults ages 18 to 64 were uninsured in 2019, a rise from 13.3 percent in 2018. In total, 28.8 million adults were uninsured last year, compared to 26.3 million in 2018.

Coverage was split along racial and gender lines, with just over 30 percent of Hispanic adults lacking health care, compared with 10.2 percent of white adults and 14.3 percent of Black adults. 

Men were also more likely to lack coverage than women by a 16 percent to 13.1 percent margin.

The most common reason people gave the CDC for not being insured was that coverage was “not affordable,” with nearly 74 percent of those surveyed saying health care was too expensive. Other reasons respondents gave for not being insured included not being eligible for coverage, not needing or wanting it or saying they could not find a plan that meets their needs.

The results of the study mark a reversal of improvements that were made in expanding coverage under ObamaCare. The percentage of uninsured working-age adults in the U.S. had dropped from 20.4 percent in 2013 to 13.3 percent in 2018.

The number of uninsured people is expected to have risen during the pandemic, which led to mass job losses and likely forced people to lose the coverage they received through their employment. The exact number of people who have become uninsured due to the pandemic remains unclear. 

The study comes out as health care emerges as a top issue in the 2020 election cycle in the midst of the pandemic. President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from Trump-Biden debate clash The Memo: Debate or debacle? Democrats rip Trump for not condemning white supremacists, Proud Boys at debate MORE has repeatedly sought to revoke the Affordable Care Act, while Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenFive takeaways from Trump-Biden debate clash The Memo: Debate or debacle? Democrats rip Trump for not condemning white supremacists, Proud Boys at debate MORE wants to expand the law and add a public option to try to cover more people.

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CDC Survey Shows Slight Uptick in Uninsured Adults

The number of uninsured adults in the U.S. crept up to 14.5% in 2019, from 13.3% in 2018, according to data from the CDC’s National Health Interview Survey (NHIS).

Put into context, the share of adults 18-64 who were uninsured last year was still much lower than the 20.4% of adults who reported being uninsured in 2013 — 3 years after passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

While she’s not “especially surprised” by the slight uptick in the percentage of uninsured adults, given the “incremental increases” seen in the last few years, Rachel Garfield, PhD, co-director of the Program on Medicaid and the Uninsured for the Kaiser Family Foundation, said it is “troubling” given the turmoil of the last 6 months, between the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn.

The survey also found that slightly more men than women, more young adults than older adults, and far more Hispanic adults than non-Hispanic adults lacked insurance. Additionally, more adults in “fair or poor” health were uninsured compared with those who said their health was “excellent, very good, or good.”

When asked their reasons for not having insurance, 73.7% said plans were not affordable. The percentage of adults who found coverage unaffordable increased with age: 66.8% of adults 18-29 compared with 80.9% of those 50-64 stated that cost was a reason they did not have a health plan.

“We have seen pretty consistently, for a very, very long time that most people who are uninsured say that they’re uninsured because of costs,” Garfield said.

While some people expected the ACA to make coverage affordable for everyone, she noted, “there are people who are falling through the cracks in that coverage and [who] still can’t afford health insurance.”

The percentage of older adults who said they could not afford coverage also troubled Garfield, given the ACA’s restriction on underwriting health coverage based on age.

But it’s unclear whether the individual reporting affordability issues actually shopped for a health plan, she said.

The report highlighted other key findings, including:

  • 16% of men were uninsured versus 13.1% of women
  • 17.5% of adults 18-29 were uninsured versus 10.5% of adults 50-64
  • 30.2% of Hispanic adults were uninsured versus 14.3% of non-Hispanic Black and 10.2% of non-Hispanic white adults
  • 17.6% of adults who described their health as “fair or poor” lacked insurance, while 14.1% of adults in “excellent, very good, or good” health reported being uninsured

Beyond cost, respondents gave other reasons for not having a health plan: 25.3% said they were not eligible for insurance; 21.3% did “not need or want” coverage; 18.4% said enrollment was “too difficult or confusing”; 18% said they “could not find a plan” that met their needs; and 8.5% said that they had enrolled but their coverage had not started. (Respondents were allowed to provide more than one reason for not having insurance.)

In drilling down into these responses, the survey found that the percentage of adults currently ineligible for insurance was higher, at 30.4%, among Hispanic adults compared with 22.3%

Even before pandemic struck, more US adults were uninsured

Updated


WASHINGTON (AP) — About 2.5 million more working-age Americans were uninsured last year, even before the coronavirus pandemic struck, according to a government report issued Wednesday.

The study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 14.5% of adults ages 18 to 64 were uninsured in 2019, a statistically significant increase from 2018, when 13.3% lacked coverage.


The increase in the uninsured rate came even as the economy was chugging along in an extended period of low unemployment. The findings suggest that even during good times, the U.S. was losing ground on coverage gains from the Obama-era health care overhaul.

Health insurance coverage has eroded under President Donald Trump, who is still trying to overturn the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare.” By contrast, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden wants to expand the ACA and add a new public plan in a push to eventually cover all Americans.



The new numbers come from the CDC’s National Health Interview Survey, which is considered one of the government’s most authoritative reports. Lack of affordable coverage was the top reason given for being uninsured, cited by nearly 3 out of 4 surveyed.


In 2018, 26.3 million adults ages 18 to 64 were uninsured. Last year, that number rose to 28.8 million, CDC said.

The situation has only worsened since COVID-19 began to spread in the U.S. early this year, forcing a sudden economic shutdown that left millions out of work. How much worse is not yet known, because government surveys like the CDC’s have a significant lag time.


Initial estimates from private experts that suggested more than 25 million people could have become uninsured due to pandemic job losses appear to have been too high.

More recent estimates suggest there are 5 million to 10 million newly uninsured. In