No health insurance for many employed Californians

The Sacramento BeeApril 3, 2009 

Lynda and Bill Jackson had been unemployed for a year, bills stacking up and their life savings dwindling, when the envelope with grim news arrived.

In a blink of an eye, their health insurance was gone. The Jacksons joined the growing ranks of Americans without medical coverage.

At some point during the past two years, newly released studies show that more than one in every three Californians under 65 went without health insurance for at least a month, and researchers say there may be no recovery in sight, even when the recession lifts.

The Obama administration says health care reform is a top priority. Business groups, health care advocates and politicians seem to agree.

But with billions of dollars at stake and the issue steeped in politics, it's anybody's guess what kind of change will unfold in the coming months. On Monday in Los Angeles, the White House will hold the last of its five regional forums on health care overhaul.

The severe economic slump has cost millions of jobs. As a result, health coverage is "declining precipitously," according to a study conducted by the Center for Labor Research and Education at the University of California, Berkeley.

Since the start of the recession, according to the UC study, an estimated 3.7 million working-age adults nationwide have lost health coverage – about 500,000 in California. By 2012 that will likely swell to 600,000.

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