The chief executive of the Catholic Health Association has called for the government to address the increasing number of uninsured persons and those living in poverty.

The CHA chief executive, Michael Rogers, was responding to the recent US Census Bureau’s report on the number of uninsured people and people living in poverty. The report found that almost 45.8 million adults and children (one in every seven Americans) had no health coverage in 2004.

Mr Rogers said he was saddened that the statistics indicate that the ranks of the uninsured continue to rise on the backs of the most vulnerable among us – the nation’s children under three years of age. Mr Rogers said it was a tragic reality‚Ķ that many of the newly uninsured are infants and toddlers.

The chief executive, who is also the interim president of CHA, noted that while findings of the census report indicate an increase of two million with health insurance coverage, the reality is that the number of people covered by employment-based health insurance actually declined and was offset by the two million more people covered by government health insurance programs, especially Medicaid.

Mr Rogers said that the results, coupled with a reported fourth consecutive annual increase in the number of people living in poverty, suggest that healthcare access is becoming increasingly difficult, rather than easier, for US citizens to obtain.