The upshot: We calculate that:
- The number of uninsured has reached 1 million, or 14.5 percent of the state's population.
- Uncompensated care (bad debt and charity care at hospitals, clinics, etc.) is nearly $1 billion.
- And that both numbers are likely to continue to rise until 2014, when the major provisions of federal health care reform are slated to take effect.
- The percentage of residents without health coverage worsened in 31 of 39 counties.
- In several counties, more than 1 in 5 residents has no health coverage.
“This is a grim milestone for the state, and we believe the situation will remain bleak for two more years,” said Kreidler. “But it’s important for people to know that there is hope is on the horizon.”
Counties with a particularly high percentage of uninsured residents include: Adams, Grant, Okanogan, Franklin and Yakima. But the problem also worsened in King, Pierce, Snohomish and Spokane counties.
The good news: Assuming that federal health care reform takes effect as planned, more than 800,000 uninsured Washingtonians will be eligible in 2014 for expanded Medicaid eligibility or subsidies to help low- and middle-income families pay for health coverage.
This is the third report on the uninsured our office has put out since 2006.