SanFran Thinks 80,000 Uninsured is a Lot

The city of San Francisco’s leaders have started work on a plan to offer comprehensive health care services to the city’s uninsured residents. The city by the bay enacted its “San Francisco Health Care Security Ordinance” because of the pressure that 80,000 uninsured people were putting on the health care system, the economy, and their own health.

A column in today’s San Francisco Chronicle calls the ordinance sound public policy that will eventually create a model for the rest of the country.

What would San Francisco do if, like Houston, more than 1 million of its residents lacked health insurance? Better yet, what are Houston and the rest of Texas — the uninsured capital of the U.S. — doing about it? Texas Medical Association’s Healthy Vision 2010 recommends rapid action on a variety of fronts. And that’s one of the big topics that TMA’s Healthy Vision Health Care Summit II will tackle next month.

Consider these facts:

  • In 2004, 56 percent of Texans 65 and younger had health insurance through their own or a family member’s job, well below the U.S. average of 63 percent. Texas, sadly, now leads the nation in the percent of uninsured adults, number of uninsured working adults, percent of uninsured children, and number of uninsured children.
  • The uninsured are up to four times less likely to have a regular source of health care and are more likely to die from health-related problems.
  • In 2005, typical premiums in the United States for family health insurance coverage provided by private employers include an extra $922 due to the cost of care for the uninsured. In Texas, home of the greatest percentage of uninsured in America, that figure is $1,551. By 2010, the national average will catch up to Texas’ current figure; by then, the annual cost per Texas family will soar to $2,786.
  • Two-thirds of the uninsured Texans of working age are employed.
  • Taxpayers, Texans with insurance, and employers who offer health benefits also pay extra for caring for the uninsured. Families USA estimates the total cost for Texas in 2005 to be more than $9.2 billion. Of that:
    • The patients and their families pay about half ($4.6 billion);
    • Government health programs pay one-sixth ($1.6 billion); and
    • Those with private health insurance subsidize the remaining third ($3 billion).
  • In 2005, typical premiums in the United States for family health insurance coverage provided by private employers include an extra $922 due to the cost of care for the uninsured. In Texas, home of the greatest percentage of uninsured in America, that figure is $1,551. By 2010, the national average will catch up to Texas’ current figure; by then, the annual cost per Texas family will soar to $2,786.
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Published in: on July 13, 2006 at 2:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

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