If national health care reform is enacted, 93 percent of California's non-elderly population would have access to health insurance — a nearly 13 percentage-point increase in statewide coverage — according to a new fact sheet released today by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
About 4 million of California's 6.4 million non-elderly adults and children who were uninsured for all or part of the year in 2007 would directly benefit through the expanded coverage offered by federal health care reform proposals, according to the fact sheet's author, Shana Alex Lavarreda, the center's director of health insurance studies.
"Just enacting the reforms agreed on in all current proposals would secure access to health insurance for millions of Californians," said Lavarreda. "It would be a dramatic change for the better."
Currently, 80.5 percent of California's estimated 33 million non-elderly residents have health insurance coverage throughout the year. Key changes included in all three of the health care reform proposals considered by Congress would make an additional 4 million uninsured Californians eligible either for public health insurance (in Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program) or for public subsidies to purchase coverage in a health insurance exchange.
In Los Angeles County alone, the epicenter of uninsurance in California, 1.2 million uninsured adults and children (out of a total 2.1 million) would be helped by national health care reform.
Not every Californian will be covered: The current proposals do not include people who either have incomes too high to qualify for public subsidies or do not qualify because of their citizenship status.
The fact sheet is based upon a data analysis of the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), the nation's largest state health survey.