Census Data Find Wide Gaps in Insurance Coverage in California
For example, only about one in 10 people lack health insurance in more affluent areas such as Santa Clara County, which has one of the lowest uninsured rates statewide. In Placer County, less than 10% of the population lacks health insurance.
In contrast, up to one-quarter of the population lacks health insurance coverage in parts of the Central Valley and Southern California regions, which have some of the highest uninsured rates in the nation. In Tulare County, about 24% of the population lacks health insurance (Swift, San Jose Mercury News, 9/21).
Compared With National Averages
The latest census also is the first to offer city-by-city details on health insurance coverage.
The report found that East Los Angeles, Santa Ana and South Gate rank among the 13 U.S. cities with the highest rates of uninsured residents.
Among U.S. cities with the highest rates of health insurance coverage, Orange County's Mission Viejo ranked 17th. Cities in Massachusetts -- which recently adopted a universal health care program -- had some of the highest insurance coverage rates in the nation (Campbell/Muir, Orange County Register, 9/21).
Overall, about 17.8% of California's population lacks insurance coverage, compared with a national average of 15%.
The latest census data is based on mail-in surveys distributed to three million U.S. households in 2008.
Although some experts say the estimates might be subject to statistical error, the findings align closely with studies conducted by other groups such as the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research (San Jose Mercury News, 9/21).
On Tuesday, NPR's "Morning Edition" reported on the health insurance coverage data from the latest census report.
The segment notes that of the 100 congressional districts with the highest uninsured rates, 53 are represented by Republican lawmakers or fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrats.Many Republicans and Blue Dogs have attempted to hinder or weaken health care reform proposals designed to expand health coverage to U.S. residents without insurance (Overby, "Morning Edition," NPR, 9/22). 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.