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California's Uninsured: Crisis, Conundrum, or Chronic Condition?
The media routinely estimates the number of uninsured Americans at around 45 million, but there are reasons to suspect that that figure is a serious overcount. In California, John Graham, director of Health Care Studies at the Pacific Research Institute, has released a report arguing that estimates of uninsured Californians may be off by as much as 100%.
According to Graham, "The problem of Californians without health insurance may not be as awful as generally portrayed. The number of Californians without health insurance for an entire year (whether legal or illegal) is likely around 9 percent."
This is an important point, because it indicates that targeted effortsparticularly using Health Savings Accounts, as Graham suggestscan widen the availability of health insurance without creating large new (and expensive) public programs. Another good approach would be to reduce the burden of state insurance regulations, which Graham estimates may drive up the price of health insurance in California by as much as 30 percent.
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