Recession Watch: 14,000 Americans a Day Are Losing Health Insurance

Layoffs are causing as many as 14,000 people to lose their health insurance every day, according to projections by the Center for American Progress and based on Urban Institute research:

Private companies — the health plans — have had at least since 1993 when they killed Hillarycare to come up with a solution. It’s been 16 years. Not only have they not solved the crisis, it is getting worse by the minute.

The data [showed that] a 1 percentage point rise in the national unemployment rate causes 2.4 million people to lose employer-sponsored health coverage.

Of these, the think tank said, 1 million people turn to Medicaid or the State Children’s Health Insurance Program and 1.1 million end up uninsured.

Data released on Thursday showed U.S. jobless numbers rose to a record high in early February of 4.99 million people, an unemployment rate of 3.7 percent.

The percentage of these uninsured people who will be forced into bankruptcy and maybe homelessness because they can’t pay their medical bills is unknown.

The antiquated, employer-based system, which is unique to the United States, imperils the health and well-being of over 47 million of us today. And while the system collapses beneath us, the health plans remain enormously profitable, and they will spend whatever it takes to protect the status quo and thus their profits.

In 1993, the health plans spent a reported $1 billion to kill the Clinton health insurance reforms. They bought the “Harry and Louise” ads, as well as a lot of Republican influence and fear-mongering spin. Scrapping the current system for the sort of government-based insurance every other country on earth, we were told is “socialism” — a word the GOP has been scarifying since the McCarthy era.

Think about it. You were probably educated in a “socialized” school system here in the good ol’ U.S. of A. Wherever you live today, you undoubtedly are served by “socialized” police and fire departments. On the other hand, if you’ve ever had to deal with health-insurance company bureaucracy, ask yourself — how much scarier could it be if Humana and Blue Cross were nationalized?

Despite ever-mounting evidence to the contrary, Republicans still like to say that the private sector is better at solving problems than the government. In this case, private companies — the health plans — have had at least since 1993 when they killed Hillarycare to come up with a solution.

It’s been 16 years. Not only have they not solved the crisis, it is getting worse by the minute. Maybe it’s time for them to get out of the way.

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