Utah’s uninsured aren’t being idle
|By Wendy Leonard; Wendy Leonard Deseret News|
The analysis of U.S. Census data attempts to defy traditional stereotypes that point to the uninsured as people who are unwilling to work, but also bolsters previous reports that expansion of
Sixty-six percent of the approximately 140,000 uninsured Utahns have held down a job in the last year, according to the report. An additional 18 percent are students, nonworking spouses or are people with disabilities, and the remaining 16 percent are unemployed.
The report "looks more closely at who stands to gain coverage if the state elects to close the coverage gap, and the role those people play in the state's economy," said
The workers identified in the report, she said, are in "occupations that residents rely on," including food service, sales, administrative support, construction, production, transportation, personal care and management.
"These are working Utahns who hold jobs that are a critical part of the state's economy," Klein said. "Access to health insurance means a healthier, more productive work force, and that's good for businesses, too."
"His proposal strengthens the employer-sponsored insurance market," said
FamiliesUSA's report, released Wednesday, alleviates a misconception about who falls into the coverage gap in
"These are people trying their best, doing what they can with the situations they are in, working without access to employer- sponsored insurance," she said. "A lot of people think if you've got a job, you've got insurance, and that is simply not the case."
"I've always used the excuse that I can't afford to see a doctor," Trujillo said, adding that his emergency medical bills have been sent to debt collectors in the past. He said having access to insurance would not only help him physically, but also would relieve stress, "because I'm not sure what is going to happen to me, whether I get in an accident or get sick."
He doesn't make enough to buy his own insurance and, without children, doesn't qualify for
Trujillo's story, Klein said, "exemplifies what is at stake for many Utahns."
To qualify for
Others, also poor, can qualify for coverage through other programs, but most adults without children are not eligible for state help with health insurance, no matter how poor, said Klein.
"It's implicit, if you've got a healthy work force, they're more productive and reliable," Curtis said.
To read the report, visit www.famiiliesusa.org/library.
Email: [email protected]
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