Health Care Reform
45 million Americans were without any health insurance in 2003 – up by 1.4 million from the previous year – according to data released by the Census Bureau in August, 2004. The number of uninsured Americans has grown for three straight years. Even more disturbing, a report from Families USA found that one in three Americans under the age of 65 – 81.8 million people – were uninsured for at least part or all of 2002 and 2003. Two-thirds of families living at or below the federal poverty line were uninsured.
Most Americans who have health insurance receive coverage through their employers – yet the vast majority of families without health insurance are working. A combination of thorny economic problems in recent years, including the rising cost of health insurance, slow job creation, and high unemployment rates, have contributed growth in uninsured rates.
Passed on March 23, 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act stands as the most significant health care legislation since the passage of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965. Most notably, the bill extends coverage to an additional 33 million Americans, ends the insurance practice of denying coverage to patients with pre-existing conditions and offers states the option of establishing insurance exchanges which include an expansion of Medicaid to Americans with incomes 133% under the federal poverty line. Subsidies for the insurance exchanges along with tax credits for small business owners who offer health care to employees are paid through by a host of small tax increases and cost savings in health care spending. In fact, the CBO has maintained that the PPACA will slightly reduce the deficit over the next decade.
For more information on this issue, visit CHN’s Public Policy Priorities, 2013-2014.
Policy Analyses and Research
- April 5, 2013Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: Ryan Budget, Not Medicaid, Creates a Two-Tiered Health Care System
- January 23, 2013Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation: Faces of Medicaid Expansion