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New report says number of uninsured declining in Phoenix

PHOENIX -- A new report claims that more people who live in Phoenix are getting health insurance.

The report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation says the number of uninsured Phoenix residents is dropping fast.

"If the patterns continue, we're going to see about half as many people who are uninsured in Phoenix as we saw about a year ago," said John Lumpkin, the foundation's senior vice president.

He said the number of those without health insurance could drop 54 percent, from the 386,000 that are currently uninsured, to about 177,000 by 2016.

Lumpkin said one reason for the drop is that people are signing up for Obamacare.

"The Affordable Care Act health reform has made opportunities for people to get low-cost or subsidized health insurance," he said. "People are getting insurance so that they're protected whenever they get sick or injured."

He said he believes there's another reason for the drop in uninsured.

"Arizona chose to expand the Medicaid program," said Lumpkin. "We're seeing that the majority of people who sign up for health insurance are people who are getting it through Medicaid or people who are doing it through the health insurance exchanges."

Lumpkin predicts that Obamacare will pump 10 billion federal health-care dollars into the Phoenix economy by 2023.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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