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The Recession Index: Measuring the Effects of the Great Recession on Health Insurance Rates and Uninsured Populations (California Journal of Politics and Policy)

Publication Topics

California Health Interview Survey; 2009 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS 2009); Health Insurance Coverage and Programs

Publication Type

CHIS Journal Article

Publication Date


Author 1

<a onclick="OpenPopUpPage('{7AAD61FA-4BCB-48C0-B0B7-87AFDC3673EF}&ID=81&RootFolder=*', RefreshPage); return false;" href="{7AAD61FA-4BCB-48C0-B0B7-87AFDC3673EF}&ID=81&RootFolder=*">Shana Charles, Ph.D., M.P.P.</a>

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<a onclick="OpenPopUpPage('{7AAD61FA-4BCB-48C0-B0B7-87AFDC3673EF}&ID=942&RootFolder=*', RefreshPage); return false;" href="{7AAD61FA-4BCB-48C0-B0B7-87AFDC3673EF}&ID=942&RootFolder=*">Sophie Snyder</a>

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​The study's objective was to determine whether the Great Recession had a differential impact on the uninsured rates among counties in California. Authors used a four-level "recession index" measured the impact of various economic indicators, between the populations uninsured for all or part of the prior year in 2009 compared to 2007.

Data sources include the 2007 and 2009 California Health Interview Surveys and California Employment Development Department unemployment data. Results: The medium recession impact group (that is, counties with high increases in unemployment and lower household incomes on average) had the highest growth in the uninsured rates, due to a large drop in job-based coverage only partially offset by public coverage. Changes in coverage by demographic groups were similar among recession index categories.

Authors found that the uninsured in 2009 were older, more likely to be U.S.- born citizens, had lower household incomes, and were more likely to be unemployed and looking for work, regardless of the impact of the Great Recession at the county level. The growth in the uninsured rates in the medium-impact group highlights the importance of public health insurance programs as a safety net during economic downturns.


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Journal Article: The Recession Index: Measuring the Effects of the Great Recession on Health Insurance Rates and Uninsured Populations

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Press Release

Related Link 1

California Health Interview Survey

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California Employment Development Department

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