LOS ANGELES: City Uninsured Rate Among Nation’s Highest
Los Angeles ranks among the worst cities in the nation in regard to numbers of uninsured and rates of job-based health coverage, according to a new study from the University of California-Los Angeles and the Commonwealth Fund. Of the 85 metropolitan areas studied, Los Angeles followed only El Paso and Jersey City, N.J. for having the highest rates of non-elderly uninsured. Compared to the national rate of 19%, 31% of Los Angeles area residents are uninsured. Additionally, Los Angeles tied with New York for the second worst health coverage rate for having workers, behind El Paso. Researchers explained Los Angeles' "poor standing" as a result of the "huge number of immigrants ... working in industries that don't provide coverage." E. Richard Brown, director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, said, that it is "shocking that despite the fact that we are doing so well (economically) in Los Angeles and California ... we have such high rates of uninsurance. The fact is: Employers are not stepping up to the plate and providing benefits to low-wage workers." The study also noted that a lack of insurance "restricts [individuals'] access to care." Los Angeles uninsured are nearly eight times more likely than those who are insured to lack a source of regular care. Nationally, uninsured individuals are two to three times more likely than the insured to lack a primary care physician (Marquis, Los Angeles Times, 8/23).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.