Uninsured numbers down in NJ
Tuesday, September 15th, 2009
The number of people without health insurance in New Jersey dropped 11 percent from 2006 to 2007. That puts the state's proportion of uninsured slightly below the national average.
The nation's collective health care worry has focused on the growing number of people without insurance. New Jersey appears to be bucking that trend. US census data show that 11 percent fewer people were uninsured in 2007 than in 2006. Karyn Schwartz is a senior policy analyst at the Kaiser Family Foundation, which collects data on health insurance. She says the drop in the uninsured reflects a growth in publicly-funded insurance programs.
Schwartz: Different state policies that have started in New Jersey has made public coverage available to more people and probably made people who were already eligible realize that that's an option for them to get coverage.
Governor Jon Corzine attributes the decline to expanded coverage through the state's FamilyCare program. Fourteen percent of New Jersey residents still lack health insurance, which is slightly lower than the national average. But the numbers don't reflect the opposite force of a recession. Schwartz points out that New Jersey's unemployment rate reached nine point three percent in July.
Schwartz: Which will likely make more people eligible for public coverage as they're losing their employer-sponsored coverage, and so having these programs already in place will help prevent a large increase in the number of uninsured in New Jersey going forward.
No data were available showing how many New Jerseyans have become uninsured since the recession took hold in the fall of 2008.