As Congress hashes out proposals to expand coverage to tens of millions of uninsured Americans, the latest count of the number of uninsured is a significant factor. Though some believe economic recovery is underway, Americans are still losing jobs by the hundreds of thousands each month. With the loss of jobs, so goes health insurance. How does this reality affect health reform and the notion of building on the current system? Has the complexion of who is uninsured changed? What has been the role of public programs in the recession?
How many uninsured are there — and how important is the number? How does the change in the uninsured affect the urgency of addressing the problem? Will it affect cost estimates for reform proposals? What are states doing in the meantime and how might they fare with national health reform? What is the role of states in the health reform proposals?
To address these and related questions, the Alliance for Health Reform and the Kaiser Family Foundation sponsored a September 18 briefing. Panelists were Len Nichols of the New America Foundation, Stuart Butler of The Heritage Foundation and John Colmers of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Diane Rowland of the Kaiser Family Foundation and Ed Howard of the Alliance co-moderated.
Full Transcript (Adobe Acrobat PDF)