2003 Regular Session

To: Rules

By: Senator(s) Dawkins, Williamson, Blackmon

Senate Concurrent Resolution 594


     WHEREAS, according to the latest Census Bureau report, there where more than 41 million uninsured Americans in the year 2001, up 1.4 million from the previous year.  Eight out of 10 were working families.  In most cases, the main earners in these families either had jobs that offered no health coverage or their premiums were unaffordable; and

     WHEREAS, the report shows that 870,000 Mississippians or 34.9% of the state's nonelderly population were uninsured.  Mississippi was one of nine states where more than one in three people under age 65 went without health insurance during that period; and

     WHEREAS, because uninsured Americans cannot afford needed medical care, they live sicker and die younger than Americans with health coverage; and

     WHEREAS, the number of uninsured Americans is rising for several reasons:  First, the economy has slowed and more people are unemployed and without health coverage.  Second, health care costs are rising at double-digit annual rates, making health coverage increasingly unaffordable for employers as well as individual consumers.  Third, as states experience fiscal shortfalls, they are cutting back on public health coverage programs, such as Medicaid, causing some low-income families to lose health coverage.  Given these trends, the problem of the uninsured promises to grow worse, not better, in the coming years; and

     WHEREAS, former Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter have pledged their support to a national initiative to focus attention on the plight of the tens of millions of Americans who lack health insurance.  The former Presidents will serve as honorary cochairs of "Cover the Uninsured Week," which is being organized by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and a diverse group of national organizations.  The week-long series of events will be held from March 10 through March 16, 2003, in communities from coast to coast; and

     WHEREAS, it is unconscionable that 41 million citizens of this great nation do not have basic health care coverage.  America's strength lies in the health and well-being of its families and children.  This nation cannot continue to ignore the plight of the uninsured as we shape its future; and

     WHEREAS, "Cover the Uninsured Week" will sponsor hundreds of grassroots events in communities across the United States, as well as a major national kick-off event in Washington, D.C.  Extensive paid television and print advertising will be used in conjunction with these events.  Activities will be held on the premises of businesses, in union halls, on the campuses of major hospitals and medical schools, as well as in churches, synagogues and mosques.  Organizers are planning health fairs for the uninsured, town hall meetings where elected officials will hear from their constituents, on campus educational programs, discussions between employer and labor groups, community-wide interfaith events, and more; and

     WHEREAS, "Cover the Uninsured Week" is sponsored by these diverse national organizations:  U.S. Chamber of Commerce; American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO); The Business Roundtable; Service Employees International Union; American Medical Association; American Nurses Association; Health Insurance Association of America; Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association; Healthcare Leadership Council; Families USA; American Hospital Association; Federation of American Hospitals; Catholic Health Association of the United States; AARP; United Way of America; and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the nation's largest philanthropy dedicated exclusively to the health and health care of all Americans:

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES CONCURRING THEREIN, That the Legislature hereby designates the week of March 10-16, 2003, as "Cover the Uninsured Weekin Mississippi" in order to participate in nationally sponsored events to focus on the problem of the uninsured in the United States and particularly in Mississippi.

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the Secretary of State shall forward a certified copy of this resolution to the national sponsors of this event and to Mississippi's congressional delegation, and that this resolution shall be made available to the Capitol Press Corps.