California: Big State, Many Without Health Insurance

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The California HealthCare Foundation has released it's data about the health of California and it is not good. Over the past 20 years the number of people without health insurance coverage continues to rise and we have the highest number of all the states - 6.6 million uninsured citizens.

Here are some surprising findings about the uninsured in California.

* More than a third come from families with incomes over $50K

* Nearly 60% are Latino

* More than 70% of children without health insurance come from families where a parent works FULL TIME.

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* The number keeps growing as employers downsize and drop coverage for employees.

* 8% of Californians purchase their own insurance

Make no mistake... if a person has no health insurance they are more likely to suffer ill health and die earlier. Children without health care perform worse in school and have higher risk of chronic disease as adults. The success of a nation is tied to public health.

"The best diagnostic test in America of a persons health is to look at the color of his skin" Don Berwick

So lets not kid ourselves that this is not a massive crisis. It is! We are in a downward spiral and intervention is needed. I don't want to hear another word about "the evils of socialized medicine" or "forcing everyone into Medicare" or "Taking away a persons right to choose". Those fear tactics have been touted since the 1930's when Social Security was adopted and 1960s when Medicare started. I have never met an older person (conservative or democrat, rich or poor) who turned their nose up at Medicare or Social Security.

To leave Americans to fend for themselves when we know that insurance is unaffordable is a crime. To ignore our failing hospitals and crowded ERs and pretend they can absorb the results of poor planning by our leaders is foolish.

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