The economic downturn has exacerbated a troubling trend in North Carolina, according to a report Wednesday, adding to the number of people without health insurance at the fastest pace in the nation.
Between 2007 and 2009, the number of people uninsured in the state rose by 322,000, or 3.1 percentage points, to 1.8 million, according to findings from the N.C. Institute of Medicine and the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research at UNC-Chapel Hill.
That was the biggest gain in the country, in percentage terms. The increase in the nation overall was 2 percentage points.
The study aims to give an up-to-date snapshot of the uninsured as policymakers in Raleigh and Washington step up efforts to change the health-care system.
Researchers used a model to estimate the number of people without health care based on the rise in joblessness and historical trends between unemployment rates and insurance coverage.
"What this shows is we shouldn't always think about [health-care issues] as separate from the economy," said Mark Holmes, vice president at the Institute of Medicine and a lead researcher on the study.
Indeed, the increase in unemployment is a big factor in the rise of the uninsured. According to the report, North Carolina has lost employer-sponsored health insurance at a rate almost twice that of the nation.
Read more at NewsObserver.com