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37% of Californians without health insurance at some point, study finds

April 03, 2009|Rong-Gong Lin II

More than one out of three California residents went without health insurance for at least some point in the last two years, according to a health advocacy group's analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.

About 12.1 million Californians, or 37% of non-senior residents, were uninsured for at least one month during 2007 and 2008, Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, a Washington, D.C.-based group, said Thursday.

Most of them were uninsured for at least six months, Pollack said, and more than 80% of them were in working families. Minorities were more likely to be uninsured; 53% of Latinos and 38% of blacks were uninsured during the two-year period; for whites, 25% were uninsured.

They were among the 86.7 million U.S. residents who went without insurance for at least one month during the same two-year period, according to the organization's count.

Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, a patient advocacy organization, said the data represent the need for healthcare reform.

"Being uninsured is not something that happens to only some people in California," he said. "It is a condition that all of us are faced with the potential of, and that many of us face on a regular basis."

Families USA's methodology in tracking the uninsured differed from the census calculations. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of people who had no health insurance for any part of 2007 was 45.7 million, down from 47 million in 2006.

Some experts attribute the drop to rising enrollment in government health programs for the poor and children.

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ron.lin@latimes.com

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