Is health care a right or a privilege? Well, I’m not going to dip into those heated waters. For now, American political forces keep that an open question. But we know that lack of access to health care is an ongoing challenge in the US. The 202o US Census estimates that 9.7% of our population does not have health insurance. As I write this, the Census Bureau Population Clock tells me the US population is 334.67 million. So approximately 32 million do not have health insurance. Healthcare costs are rising much more than income growth hampering the uninsured evermore. And beyond the human costs of inadequate healthcare, the economy suffers from health-related absenteeism, lost wages, diminished productivity, and the like. Today we will take a closer look at who has health insurance coverage in the Coachella Valley.

Not surprisingly, the wealthier cities have more residents with health insurance. These cities also have a higher percentage of 65+ residents who would have Medicare. The proportion of Indio’s insured population is just under the California proportion but above the US. In Desert Hot Springs, the city with the lowest proportion of insured residents, nearly 4,700 do not have health insurance.

But as in all things Coachella Valley, a more granular examination shows that the uninsured are represented throughout the valley, regardless of political boundaries. Except for Indian Wells, every other Coachella Valley city has neighborhoods with at least 8% of the population being uninsured, with several census tracts with over 15% uninsured.