One out of four New Mexicans has no health insurance. In response to this developing crisis, UNM School of Medicine will sponsor a healthcare debate Friday as part of Universal Health Care Awareness week. Speakers at the debate will be Dr. Don McCanne, president of Physicians for a National Health Plan and Dr. David Scrace, president of Presbyterian Health Plan.
The debate, which is being sponsored by the UNM School of Medicine Masters in Public Health Program and Institute of Public Health, will be held on the UNM north campus at the Nursing and Pharmacy Auditorium at 5:00 pm.
Mayor Martin Chavez has declared October 1-6 Universal Health Care Week in Albuquerque. A number of activities are planned that to raise awareness and dialogue about healthcare.
Lack of health insurance is linked to poorer health outcomes. According to research by the American College of Physicians, a woman with breast cancer is 50% more likely to die of her disease if she does not have health insurance.
"Working New Mexicans deserve health insurance," says Jaime Aagaard, a member of Health Students for Social Action. She added that an independent study by the Lewin group calculated that New Mexico would save millions of dollars by adopting a single-payer system that covered everyone since currently, up to 30% of health care costs go to overhead and corporate profit.
Community and state political candidates have been invited to attend the event. "This event is an opportunity for New Mexicans to speak up for a health care system that covers everyone," says Ellen Robinson, a member of the Grey Panthers.
The week will culminate with the "Rock, Roll & Run to Cover Everyone" Fun Run, sponsored by UNM health students and community elders. The run will take place Sunday, October 6th at 1 p.m. at the National Hispanic Cultural Center.