Private Health Insurance In Decline

Matt Yglesias writes:

Th[e] decline in private health insurance coverage has, however, been entirely offset by an increase in the number of working age people on Medicaid, which stood at 13 percent in 2008. Among the under-18 set, private insurance is even rarer and public coverage even more common, since children are both poorer-than-average and politically easier to cover. In terms of causation, my understanding is that this is a blend of Medicaid “crowding out” private coverage and Medicaid filling a gap in private insurance’s affordability. The Affordable Care Act is going to continue this trend by substantially expanding Medicaid coverage.

Rising unemployment and reduction in employment benefits likely explains the decline in private health insurance and the attendant rise in Medicaid coverage. I am an advocate for public insurance programs over the market based regulatory model of ObamaCare, but I hope we don;t get the increase in public insurance participation at the cost of people's jobs. But, you never know, the Exchanges might not even be an issue come 2014 the way things are going in the economy.

Speaking for me only

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  • Display: Sort:
    the public option (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by NYShooter on Thu Aug 19, 2010 at 03:58:23 PM EST
    was our only hope

    The people running private insurance companies are, quite literally, sociopaths. We might as well accept it, as our standard of living is in free fall, so is our health care situation.

    Agree (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Zorba on Thu Aug 19, 2010 at 04:44:46 PM EST
    And isn't it a crying shame?  I don't understand why the Democrats, at least, didn't run ads during the Health Care debate that said: "Does your Granny like her Medicare?  How about you?  Medicare for all!"  (Except that the Dems were either spineless, or also in the pockets of the health insurance industry.)

    They didn't do that because (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Aug 19, 2010 at 11:24:29 PM EST
    Obama made it very clear (behind the scenes) he didn't want a public option.  He'd given it away to the insurance companies in return for muted opposition to some kind of health insurance reform.

    The public option, as marketed by (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by Anne on Thu Aug 19, 2010 at 10:13:06 PM EST
    the so-called progressives as an alternative to the Baucus plan, was never much more than a catch-phrase that would look good on or as a bumper-sticker.  Ask anyone what the "public option" actually consisted of, and you would be hard-pressed to get any details - because there aren't any; there never were.

    It was a show.

    That public option campaign sucked all the energy out of what could have been and should have been the opportunity to put a single-payer/Enhanced Medicare for All plan in front of the American people and create a groundswell of support that would have been hard to ignore; by pushing a bumper-sticker plan, it became much easier to keep attention off the fact that the best plan had been taken off the table, blacked-out by the media and by the Congress.

    And by Obama, who was in bed with the industry from the get-go.

    The Dems failed to do the right thing, but the progressive blogs that pushed something that was never more than a label failed, too.


    States are cutting their (5.00 / 6) (#5)
    by caseyOR on Thu Aug 19, 2010 at 06:20:49 PM EST
    Medicaid rolls. Remember, the states fund a big part of Medicaid. It is not just a federal program. Many states can no longer afford it to pay for everyone who we would expect to qualify. You, know, poor people with no other health care options.

    This is why I have always been skeptical of the claims that, even though the health insurance reform bill was deeply flawed, at least we were expanding the Medicaid rolls. Well, yeah, maybe, in theory. But, if the states cannot afford their share where does that leave those in need? Right where they have always been, with no health care.

    There has been some federal $$$ to help the states fund Medicaid, but not nearly enough.  

    Perhaps Yglesias should do some actual research and figure out just what exactly it is the American people got with this "greatest progressive legislation" since the New Deal. I reckon he'll find we didn't get much at all.

    This was a concern with (5.00 / 5) (#7)
    by KeysDan on Thu Aug 19, 2010 at 07:30:07 PM EST
    expanding Medicaid, rather than expanding Medicare in the health care reform-  (a) the sharing with states, and (b) the vulnerability of Medicaid being considered a welfare program.  This should be a cautionary note for those who think making Medicare mean-tested is a good idea.

    This (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Aug 19, 2010 at 08:07:56 PM EST
    was my complaint about relying on Medicaid to solve insurance problems. People tend to forget that a lot of states have people like Sonny Perdue handling Medicaid.

    I thought the recent bill helped the (none / 0) (#11)
    by oculus on Thu Aug 19, 2010 at 11:24:35 PM EST
    state's re medicaid, teachers' salaries, law enforcement, etc.

    Not here (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Aug 20, 2010 at 06:14:28 AM EST
    in Ga. They are laying teachers off like crazy and cut the police force.

    We had a chance to phase it out in an orderly way (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by ruffian on Thu Aug 19, 2010 at 07:09:47 PM EST
    by offering a public plan. Didn't do it. We're gonna see it crash and burn and lots of people are going to get hurt. Well done, Dems.

    The standard of living in this country (none / 0) (#3)
    by Jen M on Thu Aug 19, 2010 at 05:25:49 PM EST
    is on the downslide, but at least we won't have to put up with it as long.

    Slightly OT but still within the markers. (none / 0) (#4)
    by BTAL on Thu Aug 19, 2010 at 06:14:01 PM EST
    From Politico:

    New Dem message: 'Improve' health care, don't talk cost

    Key White House allies are dramatically shifting their attempts to defend health care legislation, abandoning claims that it will reduce costs and deficit and instead stressing a promise to "improve it."


    "Many don't believe health care reform will help the economy," says one slide.

    The presentation's final page of "Don'ts" counsels against claiming "the law will reduce costs and deficit."

    Full article here