Yesterday, the U.S. Census released its new numbers from 2011 on income, poverty, and health insurance. Among the findings:
* In 2011, the percentage of people without health insurance decreased to 15.7 percent from 16.3 percent in 2010. The number of uninsured people decreased to 48.6 million, down from 50.0 million in 2010.
* The number of people with health insurance increased to 260.2 million in 2011 from 256.6 million in 2010, as did the percentage of people with health insurance (84.3 percent in 2011, 83.7 percent in 2010).
* California has the most number of uninsured, with 7.256 million uninsured, or 19.6% of the population over the last two years.
Californians are more likely to be uninsured than residents of all but a few–and as a result of being uninsured, live sicker, die younger, and be one emergency from financial ruin. This data shows that more than ever, California needs to aggressively take advantage of the new benefits of the Affordable Care Act, because our health system and our residents need all the help we can get.
But for the first time in years, this Census Report shows there is hope. Despite the high numbers now, the new Census statistics show that progress is possible, as we see real gains in the areas where the Affordable Care Act has started to take effect, such as coverage for young adults.
California can help address the crisis by enacting recently-passed state laws to further implement health reform in 2014, bills now pending on the Governor’s desk
In addition, 50 California counties are now taking advantage of new opportunities to draw down federal funds to expand coverage to around half-million Californians, in anticipation of the new provisions in 2014. These new county-level Low-Income Health Programs are providing a bridge to health reform and should help reduce this staggering figure in next year’s report.
Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.