About this project

The nation’s 75 million baby boomers, it turns out, are not immune from the crisis in health care. Economic problems are hitting many Ventura County middle-class baby boomers with loss of jobs and health insurance, and the safety net they paid into during better times was not designed to help them. Uninsured patients ages 45-64 nearly doubled at county hospitals and clinics between 2005 and 2009.

Findings

  • The nation’s 75 million baby boomers, it turns out, are not immune from the crisis in health care.
  • Economic problems are hitting many Ventura County middle-class baby boomers with loss of jobs and health insurance, and the safety net they paid into during better times was not designed to help them.
  • Uninsured patients ages 45-64 nearly doubled at county hospitals and clinics between 2005 and 2009.

Stories

Ventura County's Safety Net

Public hospitals and clinics: There are two county-run hospitals, Ventura County Medical Center and Santa Paula Hospital, and a network of 32 general care and specialty clinics.

Nora's Story: Blind, uninsured and 6 years to Medicare

Nora Chao walked along Alamo Road in Simi Valley as if it were booby-trapped, tapping her way with a cane, linking arms with her husband, leaning against him.

County programs offer lifeline to uninsured boomers

Richard Corney was driving on a four-lane freeway in Austin, Texas, when his blood sugar went volcanic, temporarily blinding him. Cars and trucks blended into a fog of gray, forcing him to pull over.

County programs offer lifeline to uninsured boomers

Richard Corney was driving on a four-lane freeway in Austin, Texas, when his blood sugar went volcanic, temporarily blinding him. Cars and trucks blended into a fog of gray, forcing him to pull over.

Doctors pull extra shifts at crowded free clinics

After pulling a 12-hour hospital shift the night before, Dr. Elizabeth Shaw was one of three physicians able to show up on time for a weekly 6:30 p.m. opening of the Westminster Free Clinic.

Doctors pull extra shifts at crowded free clinics

After pulling a 12-hour hospital shift the night before, Dr. Elizabeth Shaw was one of three physicians able to show up on time for a weekly 6:30 p.m. opening of the Westminster Free Clinic.

Jack's Story: Suffering stroke, he traveled across county for cheaper care

Jack Rowe couldn’t speak a sentence, couldn’t walk without help, could only rub the sides of his head and stare blindly at his cell phone. He was suffering a stroke. His mind, mobility, possibly his life, depended on getting care. Now.

Jack's Story: Suffering stroke, he traveled across county for cheaper care

Jack Rowe couldn’t speak a sentence, couldn’t walk without help, could only rub the sides of his head and stare blindly at his cell phone. He was suffering a stroke. His mind, mobility, possibly his life, depended on getting care.

Impact of "Midlife Crisis"

“Midlife Crisis: The New Uninsured,” published April 30-May 2 in the Ventura County Star.  This multi-story project focused on a surge in Ventura County baby boomers losing high-paying jobs in the recession, along with the health

Impact of "Midlife Crisis"

“Midlife Crisis: The New Uninsured,” published April 30-May 2 in the Ventura County Star. This multi-story project focused on a surge in Ventura County baby boomers losing high-paying jobs in the recession, along with the health insurance plans...

Authors

John Gonzales

John Gonzales

Senior writer John Gonzales specializes in the demographics of health policy. He was most recently based in New Orleans as Southern Regional Correspondent for the Associated Press. He covered efforts to rebuild from Hurricane Katrina, as well as immigration and the shifting demographics of The South. Gonzales previously was Hispanic Affairs reporter at Newsday -- a beat that took him from New York's emerging Mexican neighborhoods, to the U.S. border region, to rural Mexican towns. His "Texas Smuggling" articles won the National Association of Hispanic Journalists best breaking news award in 2004. He was also awarded The Freedom Forum’s North American Journalist Exchange fellowship in 2001. Gonzales spent the early part of his 15-year journalism career on the staffs of The Daily Breeze and the Gardena Valley News. He is a USC Annenberg graduate, with honors, and a dual major in political science. He is also a Spanish speaker and graduate of the Los Angeles Times Minority Editorial Training Program, or METPro.

Tom Kisken

Project Partners

© 2019 Center for Health Reporting

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