New Data Show Lack of Health Insurance Is Prevalent Across California

New data released today show that lack of health coverage is a widespread problem across California. The US Census Bureau’s annual American Community Survey (ACS) – asking about health coverage for the first time – found that one out of five Californians under age 65 (19.7 percent, or 6.3 million) were uninsured at the time of the survey during 2008, compared to 16.7 percent in the rest of the US. This finding is similar to that of a different Census Bureau survey released a couple of weeks ago, which we blogged about.

Of the 40 California counties for which the ACS reported data (smaller counties are excluded), 17 counties had a higher share of residents under age 65 without health coverage than did the state as a whole. For example, 21.6 percent of non-elderly Fresno County residents lacked coverage in 2008, as did 24.5 percent of Los Angeles County residents and 23.3 percent of Riverside County residents. Tulare County had the highest rate of uninsured residents under age 65 – 27.3 percent.

These data are yet another indicator of the importance of passing comprehensive federal health reform.

— Scott Graves and Raul Macias

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