Seven in 10 emergency physicians say the number of uninsured patients they treated in the past
year increased, and eight in 10 say it is likely to increase again during the coming year, according to
a survey released by the American College of Emergency Physicians, with the support of The Robert Wood
Johnson Foundation. The data was released at UC Davis Medical Center as part of Cover the Uninsured Week
in April the largest mobilization in history to promote health coverage for all Americans.
"This report demonstrates the magnitude of California's healthcare crisis," said Robert E.
Chason, UC Davis Medical Center CEO. "Hospitals are going bankrupt, emergency rooms are closing and
trauma systems are collapsing. Clearly this problem leads to adverse health and financial consequences
for the uninsured and their families and places great stress on our entire healthcare system."
The opinion survey of nearly 2,000 emergency doctors nationwide showed overwhelming agreement that the
uninsured patients they treat are more likely to delay care, suffer from illness and put their physical
and financial health in jeopardy than are patients who have health coverage.
According to statistics released last year by the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 44 million Americans lacked
healthcare coverage of any kind for an entire year, including 8.5 million children and more than 6 million
uninsured in California. In 2002, the number of people without health coverage grew by more than 2 million
the largest one-year increase in a decade.