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More than 800 organizations across the country participated in “Cover the Uninsured Week,” a project aimed at raising awareness about the 44 million Americans that lack health insurance and making health coverage for all a top domestic priority. Headed up by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and funded through a collaboration of more than 20 groups, the $9.5 million project ran from May 10 to16. In New York City, home to roughly 1.8 million uninsured, hundreds of events were scheduled where people received free wellness screenings and information about low-cost insurance, pharmaceutical assistance, free clinics and community health centers. According to a recent report released by the Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation that supports independent research on health and social issues, a lack of health insurance causes 18,000 premature deaths and costs American taxpayers $30 billion in medical expenses each year. [05/17/04]