Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Unsurprising News

Confirming the obvious, a report from UCLA's Center for Health Policy Research notes that the number of those Californians without health insurance rose dramatically in 2009, according to the Los Angeles Times. The primary cause, of course, is the increase of the newly unemployed who counted on employer-provided insurance for coverage.

The numbers, however, are staggering:

The number of Californians without health insurance jumped to 8.2 million in 2009, up from 6.4 million in 2007, according to UCLA's Center for Health Policy Research.

Nearly 1 in 4 Californians under age 65 had no health insurance last year, the report found, as soaring unemployment propelled vast numbers of once-covered workers into the ranks of the uninsured.

People who were uninsured for part or all of 2009 accounted for 24.3% of California's population under age 65 -- a dramatic increase from 2007 driven largely by Californians who lost employer-sponsored health insurance, particularly over the last year.
[Emphasis added]

If ever there were a good reason for a single payer system, these numbers provide it. People without insurance, especially those without a job, simply do not go to doctors for routine health problems. Instead, they wait until a condition is out of hand and then go to the nearest emergency room, thereby increasing the cost to local governments and straining ERs' ability to provide services.

But the unemployment rate is not the only cause for the increase in the uninsured. Because of the dire straits in which the state finds itself, Governor Schwarzenegger wants to cut funds for the program that covers poor children, essentially closing the door to new enrollees. The number of uninsured children rose to over 13% in 2009 and will no doubt rise above that this year. Trying to balance the budget on the backs of poor families is deemed more reasonable than raising revenues in this state.

Meanwhile, the Democrats in the 111th Congress dithers, straining mightily to pass a half vast health care bill which doesn't even include a public option.

Hard times, indeed.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's funny to watch people foam at the mouth about "communism" and cost when talking about the public option. Are all those industrial country (actually everyone but us, including Mexico), "Commies!"? And if this was so expensive, how did the UK afford it after having been bombed flat in 1947? What a bunch of tools.

9:07 AM  

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