California Workplace Health Coverage Dropped in 2005

July 11, 2007 ( - The proportion of Californians with employment-based coverage dropped slightly from 57% to 56.2% while the overall percentage of uninsured adults and children in the Golden State also dipped from 21.9% in 2001 to 20.2% in 2005.

That was a key finding of a new UCLA study about health care coverage in the state, according to a Business Insurance report.

The report issued Wednesday by the University of California at Los Angeles Center for Health Policy Research also noted that 6.5 million nonelderly Californians – 20% of the state’s population – were uninsured for all or part of 2005.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger told a news conference in Los Angeles held to release the report that the continued backsliding of California’s job-based health insurance is a clear indication of the need to reform the state’s health care system, according to the Business Insurance report.

“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.”

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 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.

The study is here .