Uninsured Americans - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

9.30.03

Uninsured Americans

Lori Wrachford lost her job almost two years ago, and her health insurance at the beginning of last year. She suffers from a thyroid condition, but had no way to pay for regular medical appointments.

Lori Wrachford/Bothell, Washington: " I was able to sell enough on ebay to get in and see my doctor one time and at least to cover my medication for the next four months."

In july she took a job with no health insurance benefits. She's one of 2.4 million americans who joined the ranks of the uninsured last year. The new census bureau report says overall 43.6 million people had no insurance last year.

Ron Pollock/Families Usa : "This is a huge increase in the number of uninsured. In fact, it's the largest increase in a decade."

Joe Johns/Nbc News/Washington: The struggling economy and unemployment rate are to blame, but the rising cost of health insurance is a major contributor as well.

Four of five uninsured come from households where at least one person has a job: "they're either in a job that doesn't provide health coverage or they're in a job that offers health coverage but the costs are far too high to pay."

It's a trend that will take some time to reverse. For Lori Wrachford, the story may have a happier ending. Later this week she expects to start a new job which does provide health insurance benefits for its employees.

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