July 1st is the start of all NAHU chapters fiscal year. As I prepare to embark upon my second and last year as President of the Triangle chapter I am thinking about the word "leadership". Thinking a great deal about what a leader means to me and how I am leading those who look to me to chart a course, including fellow Board members, other local chapters, our members, our state and national boards. But that is not all, I am also thinking about the leadership and guidance that my community, clients and prospective clients look to me to provide to them as they continue to be challenged in today's world.
I have written in past forum posts the need and importance of planning, the importance of being innovative and challenging the status quo in our respective markets. But hitting those two marks aren't enough. We also have to examine our role's as leaders in our community and how we wake up every day and represent our industry. Many of us have been in the healthcare insurance industry for many years. We have vast amounts of experience on our CV's and battle scars to prove it. It is easy to approach each day with an outlook of lived expectation. To look at each day and know you have been here before, today is just a repeat of yesterday, last year and that will guide us to next year. Our day's are a cycle of carrier meetings, prospecting, taking care of existing clients, managing internal issues and working with our Center's of Influence. Wash and repeat, we then wash and repeat.
Except that is incomplete, the world is changing. Our industry is changing and we are facing some potential headwinds like we have never seen before. Unemployment is higher at this point than any point in our history. In the second quarter of this year 22 million people had lost their jobs and correspondingly, their health insurance. Those previously insured individuals may no longer have the financial resources to access healthcare through the channels we normally think of such as COBRA. Many find themselves suddenly with without, without a job, without a paycheck and without health insurance. They are now looking at a system that seemingly no longer works for them. As industry experts how are we taking a role in shaping what comes next for those individuals? How are we influencing legislative efforts to address this issue? How are we being leaders in our communities? How are we assisting those organizations that were once clients but have now laid off all of their employees? As we look towards the fall and face an alarming number of COVID-19 cases surging through the country with hospital beds now reaching capacity. If we fast forward to fall there is the grim possibility that states may once again have to close. Those companies who barely survived the second quarter shut down in March may not be viable after a second shut down, thus again, increasing the number of individuals without insurance.
Understanding the moment and meeting the moment is a core component of being an effective leader. Individuals who have lost their jobs and then lost their insurance may be among some of the most influential voices in their communities when politicians return home to campaign this election year. The through line is that many politicians are going to be hearing from their constituents, many of those voters may be the ones that have lost access to healthcare. Where once, in a good economy with low unemployment, Medicare for All and a Single Payer System was the talk of liberal daydreamers, but now, faced with a system that doesn't seem to work for them is it easier for them to support these such policies? While none of us have the perfect solution. It is critically important to our industry that we have these conversations and grapple with these difficult issues. And we clearly define our role in this market. Define our role as helpers of not just the businesses we serve but also to the employees they employ or once employed.
As veterans of this industry it is important for us to be leaders in our community and a voice that helps shape legislation around these difficult issues. This will help to ensure the continuity of our industry today and for decades to come. That cannot happen if we all aren't doing our part locally to demonstrate our purpose and place for those among us who are vulnerable. We must help lead them towards solutions, we must be the voice of an industry who truly cares. Now is not the time to allow others in our industry to "tote water" for us in terms of legislative efforts. As leaders we must roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty.