CNS – Fewer Californians are receiving health insurance through their employers at a time when more children are being enrolled in public insurance programs, according to a UCLA study released July 11.
Twenty percent of the state’s population was uninsured for all or part of 2005, according to “The State of Health Insurance in California: Findings from the 2005 California Health Interview Survey.”
The number of California residents with job-based health insurance declined from 56.4 percent in 2001 to 54.3 percent in 2005, the UCLA researchers found.
“This research underscores everything we have been talking about,” said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who attended a news conference on the findings at the UCLA School of Public Health.
“Coverage is eroding because costs are out of control for businesses and workers, making it harder for them to compete,” he said. “All this points out once again that we need comprehensive health care reform that insures everyone and guarantees all Californians have access to affordable and reliable care.”
The UCLA report found that eight in 10 of the state’s uninsured are employed. As job-based health insurance declines, more children are being enrolled in state insurance programs like Medi-Cal and Healthy Families.
“What we’re seeing is the rapid erosion of our health insurance system,” said the study’s author, E. Richard Brown, director of the Center for Health Policy Research.
“Without substantial reform, the coverage of millions of working families and individuals will be threatened as rising health care costs continue to make employment-based insurance unaffordable for workers and employers alike.”
The report also found that uninsurance rates differed among racial and ethnic groups. Thirty-four percent of Latinos do not have insurance, followed by 22 percent of American Indians, 17.7 percent of Asian Americans, 15.3 percent of Blacks and 12.5 percent of Whites.
“This report provides further evidence why seven in 10 Californians believe major changes are needed to fix our health care system,” said Robert K. Ross, president and chief executive of the California Endowment, which co- funded the study with the California Wellness Foundation.
“Without the necessary health reforms put in place, we will continue to put Californians in jeopardy of losing health care coverage.”