25% of adults in U.S. lack health insurance

WASHINGTON — With the future of the health care law emerging as a major campaign issue this fall, a new survey has found that more than a quarter of adults ages 19 to 64 in the United States lacked health insurance for at least some time in 2011.

And the vast majority of those people, nearly 70 percent, had been without coverage for more than a year, according to the study by the nonprofit Commonwealth Fund, a leading authority on health policy.

The holes in health insurance were a driving force in President Barack Obama’s push for the controversial health care overhaul he signed in 2010. Close to 50 million people in the country now lack coverage, a number that has been rising as employers eliminate jobs or cut back health benefits.

Research, including the Commonwealth Fund survey, indicates that people without health insurance often skip needed medical care and do not get vital preventive services such as cancer screenings.

According to the survey, 74 percent of women ages 40 to 64 with health insurance had received a mammogram in the previous two years. In contrast, just 28 percent of women in that age group who had been without insurance for a year or more received a mammogram.

The health care law is slated to guarantee coverage to all Americans starting in 2014, when insurance companies will no longer be allowed to exclude people with pre-existing medical conditions and low- and moderate-income Americans will be able to get subsidies to help buy a health plan.

The Commonwealth Fund study predicted that the coverage gaps would be reduced as a result of the new law.

But it is unclear whether the coverage expansion will ever happen.

The U.S. Supreme Court is considering a constitutional challenge to the law. And former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has pledged to repeal the law if he is elected president in November.

More in Local News

Minutes mattered the day Pat Ward was brought back to life

The Mukilteo police and fire chaplain died at breakfast. She got a second chance thanks to a waitress.

Cool additions at an elementary school in Everett

A totem pole and new gardens grace the courtyard of Whittier Elementary School.

Kids suspected in school’s smashed windows and other damage

The cost of the damage at Explorer Middle School in south Everett is estimated to be $5,000.

Recall issued for about 1,250 pounds of meat

Camano Island’s Sausage Haus products might be contaminated.

3 women seek open seat in 39th District

The GOP nominees hope to fill the opening created by the resignation of Republican John Koster.

Lake Stevens High senior has an entrepreneurial mind

John Cramer crafts and sells designer pens to help pay for college

Marysville-Arlington fiber-optic link planned by Comcast

The high-speed internet line, to be ready next year, is seen as a boost for business development.

Front Porch

EVENTS Health fairs A Senior Healthy Living Fair is set for noon… Continue reading

Cellphone carrier substation in Snohomish vandalized

Detectives with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office are investigating a… Continue reading

Most Read