UNINSURED: UCSF Professor Pushes for Universal Coverage
Lamenting the Legislature's failure to help the 7 million uninsured Californians under the age of 65 this past session, an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle urges Gov. Gray Davis to sign SB 480, which would order the state Health and Human Services Agency to study "options for universal health care coverage and report back to the Legislature." Dorothy Rice, professor emeritus at the Institute for Health and Aging at the University of California-San Francisco, declares that "California is facing a crisis of major proportions in its growing number of people without health insurance coverage." She notes that experts are concerned that in the future, those forced to retire for health reasons before age 65 will go without coverage until they are eligible for Medicare. Making the situation worse is the fact that many more state residents remain underinsured, "with large out-of-pocket payments for drugs, mental health care and long term care." Rice writes that it is "unconscionable and intolerable" that so many Californians lack access to adequate health care, especially in a "flourishing" economy (Rice, 9/24).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.