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Monday, January 01, 2007

Think Tank Joins Schwarzenegger to Highlight Rising Costs of Uninsured

At a recent event with California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the New America Foundation released a report highlighting the hidden costs that all Californians pay due to the large number of those with little or no health care insurance coverage. Governor Schwarzenegger toured the emergency room at the California Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles to highlight the hidden costs of the 6.5 million Californians without health care insurance.

"Tackling the problem of the uninsured is not only about expanding coverage, it's about addressing this hidden tax on healthcare that Californians can no longer afford," says Schwarzenegger. "I know if we work together, we can make health care more affordable, accessible and equitable."

The report, "A Premium Price: The Hidden Costs All Californians Pay in Our Fragmented and Underfunded Health Care System," written by Peter Harbage and Len Nichols of New America’s Health Policy Program, shines a spotlight on the cost-shift from the uninsured and underinsured to the rest of the population. The report estimates that about 10 percent of California health care premiums can be attributed to cost-shifting due to the uninsured. This means that cost shifting inflates the average annual premium for a California family by $1,186. Individuals purchasing policies pay an additional $455 annually in higher premiums.

Video of this event is also available (in Windows Media format) via the governor's Web site.


The press conference received significant press coverage in the leading papers in California, including The Sacramento Bee and The San Francisco Chronicle. In addition, Dan Walters, lead political writer for The Sacramento Bee references the New America report in his latest column on this topic.

About the New America Foundation

New America Foundation describes itself as a nonprofit, post-partisan, public policy institute whose purpose is to bring exceptionally promising new voices and new ideas to the fore of American public discourse. Relying on a venture capital approach, the foundation invests in outstanding individuals and policy solutions that transcend the conventional political spectrum. Headquartered in Washington, New America also has offices in California and New York.

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