Despite ‘Economic Boom,’ California’s Rate of Uninsured Has Failed to Decline, Study Finds
Despite a "modest decline in the proportion of the population in poverty" and an economic boom, a small increase in the number of low-income uninsured Californians according to a preliminary analysis performed by two University of California-San Diego professors. Using data from the March supplement to the 2000 Current Population Survey, Todd Gilmer and Richard Kronick examine the reasons behind California's high number of uninsured residents. The authors estimate that due to a "booming economy" and a low unemployment rate, the rate of California's uninsured should have decreased by 5% from 1994-1999; however, they conclude that "the broader view of the period from 1994 to 1999 is that there has been very little change in the percent uninsured over the six-year period." Below are some other findings:
- In 1999, California had 6.8 million non-elderly uninsured residents, a decrease from 7.3 million in 1998. This decrease was caused by a rise in employer-sponsored insurance.
- Among children in families with incomes below 100% of the federal poverty level, public coverage in either Medi-Cal or Healthy Families declined after 1996, "presumably due to the implementation of welfare reform, and perhaps, in part due to a slight increase in employer-sponsored coverage."
- Among children in families earning between 100% and 200% of the FPL, public coverage increased 6.6% from 1997-1999.
- Latino adults in California and throughout the country are more likely to be uninsured than other adults. However, controlling for race and ethnicity, the rate of uninsured children in California parallels the rest of the country (Gilmer/Kronick, http://www.medicine.ucsd.edu/fpm/uninsured/).