UCLA study shows nearly 8.5 million Californians are uninsured

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A new UCLA study shows most Californians get their health insurance through work, and nearly a quarter of the population has no coverage. KPCC’s Patricia Nazario has details.

To come up with their estimates, researchers at the Center for Health Policy looked at unemployment claims — and at enrollment numbers for the state’s Medi-Cal and Health Families programs. They also factored in the numbers from a statewide health survey conducted three years ago.

The study’s authors say with unemployment up and coverage in the workplace down, nearly 8.5 million Californians don’t have health insurance. That’s almost a quarter of the state. The UCLA researchers also say it’s two million more uninsured than in 2007.

In L.A. County, the rate of uninsured is nearly 30 percent – or about 2.7 million people. Riverside County’s rate is a little less. Orange County’s rate is a bit above 23 percent.

The study notes that the federal health care reform effort is aimed at helping working families — but much of it won’t take effect for four years. The UCLA researchers say lawmakers need to find ways to help the uninsured now.