Recession Takes Toll on California's Health Insurance


The recession has taken its toll on Californians' Health Insurance. In fact, according to the study released Monday by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, more than one-fourth of Los Angeles County residents under age 64 lived without health insurance.

“Health care reform is several years away, but families are dealing with health problems right now.” said lead researcher Shana Alex Laverreda. "Health care reform is several years away, but families are dealing with health problems right now," said Shana Alex Lavarreda, lead researcher on the fact sheet. "Every effort should be made to help families in need even sooner than 2014."

The county estimates were based on a simulation model that predicted changes in county-level uninsurance using data from the 2007 California Health Interview Survey adjusted with 2009 county unemployment rates, and taking into account simultaneous decreases in household income. The model also included county-level increases in public health insurance from 2007 to 2009, based on administrative data from Medi-Cal and Healthy Families enrollment counts.


Researchers attributed the increase to the rise in unemployment and its drop in incomes and job-based health coverage. In addition, researchers noted that the major elements of the recently adopted federal health care legislation will not take effect until 2014, including federal subsidies for purchasing insurance through a state-based exchange and an expansion of Medi-Cal.

The number of people without health insurance increases in CA

In the Central Valley, one of the hardest-hit parts of the state by the economic downturn, Fresno County’s data showed an increase in uninsured residents under age 65 from 19.6% in 2007 to 24.4% last year. The report said 49.7% of county residents had job-based health insurance coverage in 2007, versus 43.2% last year.

Formed in 1994, the center conducts research, including a biennial health survey on Californians, to improve public health through education, community partnerships and public service.

According to the Congressional Committee on Energy and Commerce, health care reform in the 45th Congressional District will guarantee coverage to 21,100 residents with pre-existing conditions, improve coverage for 441,000 residents and reduce uncompensated care by $96 million.


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