The number of Americans without health insurance increased last year by the largest amount in a decade. There is no wonder that Southern California is currently facing a crippling number of labor union disputes, some of which are spurred in part by the loss or cutback of employer-sponsored health care benefits due to rising health care costs.
A recent Los Angeles Times article cites a U.S. Census Bureau report that the number of uninsured in California averages at 18.8% of the population, which is 3.9% higher than the national average. This disparity may be due in part to the large number of immigrants in California and the high poverty rate. According to the article, affordability is the primary reason why people lack healthcare coverage. This healthcare gap is bad news for patients who suffer from prostate cancer and bad news for the financial state of the California healthcare system.
How Lack of Health Insurance Coverage and Prostate Cancer Affect California:
This year, approximately 21,370 California men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer.
3,120 California men will die of the disease this year.
In California, Latino and African-American men are at the highest risk for prostate cancer 1.5 times more likely to be diagnosed with advanced stages of the disease.
African Americans and men of Asian descent are two times more likely than non-Latino whites to have no health coverage, while Latinos are three times more likely not to have health insurance.
Every year, California spends over $180 million in direct prostate cancer-related health care costs. Millions of these dollars are spent treating low-income and uninsured prostate cancer patients in progressed stages of their disease. This expenditure could have been reduced if these patients were treated immediately after diagnosis.
For these men with prostate cancer and for California, there is a safety net. IMPACT is a statewide program dedicated to improving access, counseling, and treatment for Californians with prostate cancer. The program provides FREE treatment to uninsured, low-income men by contracting with quality physicians and provider facilities from communities throughout California.
For more information about IMPACT, visit our website at www.california-impact.org or contact us at 1-800-409-8252.