More than 4.1 million people lost their jobs in the last year. One year ago the unemployment rate was 4.8%. The other day we learned that job loss accelerated. As the unemployment rate hit 7.6%, no hope could be extended that the trend might reverse.
The relationship between losing a job and, with it, our health care, was examined in a report published in April 2008 by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Unemployed. The authors, Stan Dorn, Bowen Garrett, John Holahan, and Aimee Williams, all of the Urban Institute, estimated that when the unemployment rate rises by 1%, 1 million new people enroll in SCHIP and Medicaid and another 1.1 million people lose their health insurance.
Using these projections, a 2.8% rise in unemployment would correspond to 5.8 million people losing their health insurance, resulting in an increase in SCHIP and Medicaid enrollment by about 2.8 million people (about 1.68 million of them children) and increasing those lacking any form of health coverage by over 3 million people, all in the last twelve months.
In a year of disappearing jobs, where will people turn for their health needs, when they live in a society where, as the New York Times reported, “When a Job Disappears, So Does the Health Care”?
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