Recession’s Toll on Health Coverage

From the New York Times

It’s a startling reminder that when people lose their jobs, they typically also lose their health insurance coverage. The share of children and working-age adults who had insurance through an employer fell 10 percentage points during the last recession, according to a study released on Thursday by the Center for Studying Health System Change, a nonpartisan research group in Washington.

From 2007 to 2010, the share of children and working-age adults with employer-sponsored coverage fell to 53.5 percent from 63.6 percent, according to the study.

The major contributor to the decline was the loss of employment during the downturn, with almost a third of the people younger than 65 living in a family where no one was working, according to the study. The study is based on the center’s 2007 and 2010 Health Tracking Household Surveys.

The surge in unemployment, coupled with the steady deterioration of the number of employers offering coverage and the number of workers signing up for insurance, is causing a “steady erosion” in employer-based coverage, said Chapin White, a senior researcher at the center who is an author of the study.

“There’s been a lot of debate about what health reform is going to do to employer-sponsored coverage,” he said, but much of that discussion ignores the significant decline in employers as a source of coverage. “The backdrop for that debate is shifting,” he said.

The study was conducted for the National Institute for Health Care Reform, a nonprofit group founded by Chrysler, Ford, General Motors and the United Automobile Workers union.


  1. karen anderson on March 22, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    single payer , single payer, single payer. If I say it over and over again will it be a reality?

  2. Richard Damon, MD on March 22, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    When will policy makers wake up to what is the only health care system that will work? Single Payer with some variations, is the only system that other industrialized countries have decided makes sense, regarding cost, accessibility, and quality. (Hsaio from Harvard designed Taiwan’s system, viewed as one of the best systems in the world). For-profit insurance companies have no place in health care. The opportunity to persue health is a human right for every citizen. Drug companies must be made to negotiate priscription drug prices like they have for Medicaid,and the Veterans Administration. If we elimiate the big pay offs to the policy makers from the health industries from the health care picture, maybe congress would consider legislating for the people in this nation instead of the health industry players. The ACA leaves 50 million uninsured, has 7,000 + complicated pages, creates a mandate to purchase (although there is not teeth in the so-called penalty for not purchasing) and is expected to not curb health care costs, besides numerous other short comings. How can intelligent people act so stupidly? Richard A. Damon, MD`

  3. D Hickey on March 24, 2012 at 10:00 am

    As a retired nurse I saw the medical system becoming more and more greedy? For many years we always had coverage per my husbands job and mine? Then close to 60 my husband was laid off after 28 years? He was not in Congress so he did not have any health coverage nor was he in a union that might have covered him anymore? So we had to find insurance coverage and finally did with Blue Cross and then we both after over 40 years of being covered, had pre existing they said they could not cover for 18 mo. Mine was a Mitral Valve I have had since a teen, and my husband a back problem never had surgery? Yes, we were lucky we could afford health insurance? I am for One payer universal whatever? Many of these politicians are not caring about the millions who are out of work and cannot have any care but the ER, which is a stop gap no where to go after ER or anyone to care? You own a home, cars etc. you are expected to pay whatever the cost of medical care is and go broke if you have to? We have a clinic here in Pickens Cty, Good Samaritan, been here 8 years a free health clinic one of only a few in this rich country staffed by volunteers? My Republican Party, I one time voted for, is cold and do not care about the people? They only want to back the rich insurance and medical companies? What kind of a country have we become and such a rich one when they do not care about their own Citizens?