More Than One-Third of Nevada Residents Were Uninsured Last Two Years; Minorities Disproportionately Affected, Report Finds
More than one-third of Nevada residents younger than age 65 were uninsured at some point in 2007 and 2008, according to a study released Wednesday by Families USA, the Las Vegas Sun reports. The group is releasing reports on all 50 states over the next two weeks. The Nevada report indicates that 841,000 residents younger than 65 -- or 37.2% of the total population of that age group -- were uninsured during those years. More than 80% of those uninsured were from working class families.
In addition, the study shows that blacks, Hispanics and other minorities are more likely to be uninsured than whites, according to Families USA Executive Director Ron Pollack. He said many minorities are employed by small businesses that do not provide health care coverage for employees, or they work part time and do not qualify for benefits.
Bob Fulkerson, executive director of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, said that preliminary research indicates Hispanics living in Nevada are more likely to have health insurance than Hispanics living in other states. "My hunch is the reason we're a little better off would be because of the preponderance of Hispanics working for unionized casinos in Las Vegas," he said, adding that the U.S. still must address racial disparities in health insurance coverage.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who has been urging President Obama to release a health care reform plan, said, "The figures are appalling," adding, "Given the state of the economy, health care and system, they are not a surprise, I am sorry to say" (Reid Norman, Las Vegas Sun, 3/25).
The report is available online (.pdf).