Two counties illustrate health care disparities

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

Anna Tong and Phillip Reese of The Sacramento Bee write about health care disparities. They use two local counties to explain many of the issues that are central to the debate over changing the nation’s health care system.

In Yolo County, where many people are uninsured, the residents are diverse in occupation and age. Placer County’s “demographics makes it one of the best for insurance coverage: wealthier, older residents employed by large companies.”

Tong and Reese explain the ties between being uninsured and health outcomes, as well as the cost to society. They also look at the types of businesses that dominate the two counties and point out that employers in Yolo County, where many people are work in agriculture, service and food industries, are less likely to offer insurance than in Placer County, where many people work in the financial industry, professional and business services and high tech.

Other factors they look at include the links between income, ethnicity, age and insurance coverage.

The package includes an interactive graphic that shows California’s counties and how many people in each are uninsured and a series of graphics that breaks down the number of uninsured based on race, income, age, education, employment status and place of birth.

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