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Although the overall percentage of uninsured California adults and children dropped slightly from 21.9% in 2001 to 20.2% in 2005, the proportion with employment-based coverage dropped from 57% to 56.2%, a new UCLA study has found.
The improvement in the state's uninsured rate was attributed to expanded enrollment of children in public insurance programs such as Medi-Cal, Healthy Families and the local public-private program called Healthy Kids, according to a report issued Wednesday by the University of California at Los Angeles Center for Health Policy Research.
The report also notes that 6.5 million nonelderly Californians--20% of the state's population--were uninsured for all or part of 2005.
This continued erosion of California's job-based health insurance is a clear indication of the need to reform the state's health care system, said California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger during a press conference Wednesday at the UCLA School of Public Health in Los Angeles, at which the findings were announced.
"This research underscores everything we have been talking about," the governor said at the press conference, according to a press release issued by UCLA. "Coverage is eroding because costs are out of control for businesses and workers, making it harder for them to compete. All this points out once again that we need comprehensive health care reform that insures everyone and guarantees all Californians have access to affordable and reliable care."
Gov. Schwarzenegger has been promoting his own plan to change the health care system since early this year, and two bills introduced by two Democratic lawmakers that were merged last month are pending in the state's General Assembly.
The complete UCLA study is available at for download free of charge at www.healthpolicy.ucla.edu.