The increase in uninsured is a significant problem for working San Diegans. The recent report by UCLA shows that the percent of San Diegans below the age of 64 that were uninsured for all or part of the year increased by over 3 percentage points between 2007 and 2009. As a result, one in four San Diegans lack health insurance.

Even though the rate of uninsurance is lower than that of California, in the sheer numbers of uninsured (about 647,000), San Diego ranks third highest, after Los Angeles and Orange Counties. This makes the lack of health insurance juggernaut a formidable economic problem for the region due its sheer size and interminable velocity.

The fundamental driver of this problem is the erosion of employment-based health insurance coverage. In 2007, 60.5 percent of San Diegans under the age of 64 had employment-based coverage. In 2009, only 56 percent had employment-based coverage — a drop of 4.5 percentage points. That can explain most of the decline in coverage for working-age San Diegans.

What can we do? San Diegans need jobs with health insurance benefits.

— MURTAZA BAXAMUSA

Murtaza Baxamusa

Murtaza Baxamusa works for the San Diego Building Trades Family Housing Corp. and volunteered as a special policy adviser for Bob Filner.

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