Eye On Olympia

Number of uninsured in state is surging...

The trend won't be a surprise, but the numbers are pretty startling: state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said this week that the number of Washingtonians with no health insurance has shot up to a record 876,000.

That's 1 in 5 people between the ages of 19 and 64. And that number doesn't include people whose employers have stopped offering insurance, or workers who can't afford their employer's health plan.

"These are not just statistics," Kreidler said. "They are people you know -- family, friends, neighbors, colleagues. Maybe even you."

This year alone, he said, 150,000 Washingtonians will lose their health coverage, mostly because of being laid off.

Kreidler is pushing for universal health coverage that's not linked to a job.

"If we fail to act," he said, "we will see one million people living without health insurance in our state."




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