Forty-five million Americans were uninsured in 2007. They may have worked for an employer that didn’t offer coverage, or were eligible for coverage on the job but could not pay their share of the premiums. Perhaps they were denied coverage in the individual market. Whatever the reason for not having coverage, their lack of insurance limited their access to care, contributed to poorer health outcomes, and may have led to personal bankruptcy.
Different approaches are being considered for expanding coverage for the uninsured and underinsured in the context of health reform. Understanding the basics of these options, whether they build on the current system or propose to radically change the system, is important for moving the debate forward.
Who are the uninsured and why aren’t they covered? How will each coverage option reduce the rolls of the uninsured? Will they make coverage more affordable? What are the advantages and disadvantages of public versus private plans? What difficulties might one encounter with particular options? What would the cost of various options be to government? To employers? To families?
To address these and related questions, the Alliance for Health Reform and the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured sponsored a March 2 briefing. Speakers were: Diane Rowland, executive director of the Kaiser Commission; Jack Ebeler of Ebeler Consulting; and Bradley Herring, The Johns Hopkins University. Ed Howard of the Alliance and Diane Rowland co-moderated.
Full Transcript (Adobe Acrobat PDF)