SAN DIEGO COUNTY: Thriftiest among Counties with High Rates of Uninsured
San Diego County has one of the highest uninsured rates in the state, but spends the least on care of six large counties with mounting numbers of uninsured, according to a report released last Friday by the Council of Community Clinics. The coalition of clinics reported that about 27% of San Diego County residents under age 65 are uninsured, but the county spends just $73 per person, compared to $281 in Los Angeles County and $377 in San Francisco County. The "Clinic, Counties and the Uninsured" study charges that San Diego County has not directed enough money to the clinics to fulfil their mission of providing health care for the working poor. "Overall, San Diego's spending for care to the uninsured indigent has been declining both in total dollars and as a percent of the county health budget," the study concluded. Eighty-five percent of the uninsured in the county are the working poor. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the problem is exacerbated by falling revenue from the tobacco tax and Medi-Cal's decision to stop payments for inmates' health care. Supervisor Ron Roberts said the clinics' concerns "are not falling on deaf ears," noting that the county is "working very hard to strengthen the safety net" and has recently voted to direct tobacco money toward health care (Brooks, 3/7).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.