You remember, back in the day, when you were employed, you worried about losing the job because you would lose your health insurance?
Paul Krugman has some splendid [/snark] news… many of you now don’t have to worry about that, even if you have jobs: only about 53.5% of Americans now receive their health insurance from their employers! Isn’t that great? [/snark]
(Krugman’s source: National Institute for Health Care Reform [.pdf].)
This was never a good system even in the best of times, and as NIHCR points out, the Great Recession (awwww, c’mon, call it a depression) makes the existing trend worse. There is no intrinsic connection in an employment-at-will society between having a job at a given moment and needing health insurance at that same moment. When health care insurance was affordable (yes, children, there was such a time, perhaps 25 years ago or more), employer-provided medical insurance could be (and indeed was) spun as a “benefit”: something a good employer threw into the bargain as an extra incentive for an employee to work for them. When I first became self-employed in the mid-Eighties, my private health insurance cost about $150/mo.
Fast-forward 20 years or so: that same private coverage cost over $2000/mo., so of course I dropped it. Many people who already suffer some chronic illness would not have been in a position to do so. (This was before I became a cripple.) With the rise in medical care costs and the accompanying rise in insurance premiums, employer-sponsored medical insurance became, not a “benefit,” but an absolute essential: without such coverage, people go without medical care.
And today our “system” covers only 53.5% of non-elderly Americans.
Does anyone really think this is a good system? Well, yeah, a lot of Republicans seem to think so… remember that on Election Day.