With the new federal medical insurance program on the verge of implementation, California has the largest number of medically uninsured residents of any state, but its percentage of uninsured is only 10th highest, according to a new Census Bureau report.
Just over 20 percent of Californians under the age of 65 were uninsured in 2011, the last year for which data are available. Texas had the highest rate, more than 25 percent, while Massachusetts had the lowest, less than 5 percent.
The report covers counties as well as states and reveals that in California, wealthy Marin County has the lowest rate of uninsured at 12 percent -- about the same as Iowa's rate, the nation's eighth lowest.
California has more than six million residents without medical insurance and is among the states that have most vigorously embraced the Affordable Care Act. It is implementing the optional extension of Medicaid (Medi-Cal in California) to more low-income residents and has set up an exchange, Covered California, to facilitate acquisition of insurance by individuals and employers. State officials believe that the state's medically insured total will be reduced at least by half with those steps.
PHOTO: Nurse Practitioner David Weller, left examines patient Jose Andino at The Effort medical clinic in North Highlands on Friday, July 13, 2012. The Sacramento Bee/Randall Benton