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New California Health Interview Survey Data Highlight Impact of ACA

New California Health Interview Survey Data Highlight Impact of ACA

For many health advocates across California, today has been highlighted on the calendar for months. That’s because it’s the day that the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research released the results of the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) for 2013 and 2014. As the most detailed source of health data for California’s diverse population, CHIS is instrumental to our advocacy efforts here at CPEHN as we work to eliminate the inequities faced by communities of color.

During a seminar earlier today, Dr. Ninez Ponce (a former CPEHN board member) and Dr. David Grant discussed the survey and some of the results. One exciting new feature of CHIS is that you can now access individual year data from 2011 to 2014. Before, the data was released every two years, but now the plan is to release new data each year:

"This is a significant development that will provide policymakers and others with much more timely data on the health of Californians," said David Grant, director of CHIS.

The 2013 and 2014 CHIS data is particularly interesting because it shows the impact of the Affordable Care Act’s coverage expansions. We are in the midst of the largest reduction in uninsurance rates in a generation and prior to today we were still looking for solid information on the scope of the ACA’s impact. In a new fact sheet also released today, the UCLA Center showed how the uninsured rate in California dropped significantly in 2014, thanks in large part to a large increase in Medi-Cal recipients.

Dr. Ponce noted that while there has been improvement in terms of reducing uninsurance rates, CHIS shows that more work is left to do to expand coverage for everyone.

"The number of people without insurance, especially among low-income families and the middle class, is going in the right direction – down," Ponce said. "But with 4.5 million still uninsured in the state, our job is not over yet."

By using the free, searchable AskCHIS tool, users can examine CHIS data by county or region and by race and ethnicity. New features of the survey include information on teens and electronic cigarette use, children and sedentary time, high school students and community engagement, and more. Dr. Ponce noted that the survey was conducted in several languages, including English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and, for the first time, Tagalog.

In the coming months we will be including information from the most recent CHIS survey in our Data & Resources section on our website. Be on the lookout for notification of those additions and in the meantime, you can visit the AskCHIS site and explore the data!

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