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Nearly 6.4 million Californians lack health insurance, report shows
Date:12/15/2008

Nearly one-fifth of all Californians under age 65 were without health insurance for all or some of 2007, according to a policy brief released today by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

Drawing on comprehensive new data from the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), the policy brief's authors found that 6.4 million Californians lacked any health insurance coverage for all or some of 2007, the most recent year for which comprehensive statewide data is available.

This number represents 19.5 percent of all Californians under age 65, which is slightly lower than the uninsured rate of 20.2 percent in 2005. However, the gains were small and are now likely to be reversed by the current recession, according to the authors of the brief, "Nearly 6.4 Million Californians Lacked Health Insurance in 2007."

"We're looking at the final year of an economic expansion and yet the gains in coverage were small," said lead author E. Richard Brown, director of the Center for Health Policy Research. "If the employer-based system can't increase health insurance in good times, how will they do it in bad? The answer is: they can't. Only comprehensive health care reform will change the equation."

In 2003, the state's unemployment rate rose to 6.8 percent, which was a main driver of the decline in employment-based insurance from 56.4 percent in 2001 to 53.8 percent in 2003. Today in California, the statewide unemployment rate is more than 8 percent and is predicted to rise.

"It suggests we are now in for an even more severe decline in employment-based insurance than in 2003," said co-author and senior research associate Shana Alex Lavarreda.

Funded by grants from the California Endowment and the California Wellness Foundation, the policy brief brief draws on the latest comprehensive data from the CHIS, the largest state health survey in the nation. That data was collected from more than 50,000 California
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Contact: Gwen Driscoll
gdriscoll@ucla.edu
310-794-0930
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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