ARIZONA UNINSURED: Struggles with Soaring Numbers
With 28% of its population lacking health insurance, Arizona is struggling with the dubious distinction of having the nation's highest uninsured rate. The topic is the subject of the 74th Arizona Town Hall, held this week in Prescott, the Arizona Republic reports. Although the increased "flow of illegal immigration" coupled with emergency rooms teeming with patients who never received preventive care are driving the crisis, Town Hall participants say "workplace health insurance is where the system is failing." Ron Lee, director of the Arizona Commission on Indian Affairs, said, "Arizona has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the U.S." He added, "How can we have one of the highest rates of uninsured?" The answer may be the growth of low-paying service-sector jobs and contract work, which typically lack health insurance benefits, the Republic reports. Solutions suggested by town hall participants included providing tax incentives to employers offering health insurance, forming insurance pools to enable the uninsured to purchase group insurance at lower rates, establishing walk-in community clinics aimed at preventive care and expanding the eligibility pool for Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System to include those earning 200% of the poverty rate. The town hall ends today and approved proposals will be forwarded to legislators (West, 5/19).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.