Low-Income Health Care Reform – How Working Families Are Impacted

Economic Pressures and the Labor Market

Today, there are over 150 Americans covered as part of an employer-sponsored health care plan and this security blanket is increasingly at risk with an uncertain job market. In fact, today unemployment remains above 10% on the national level and replacement jobs feature many fewer benefits than traditional salaried or union-based positions. The decline in employee benefits is a product of the declining organized labor movement, as Union based employment has fallen below 9% in all sectors (with much higher proportions in the public sector) which is much lower than both the historical average and unionization rates in other developed countries.

According to the AFL-CIO, one of the single largest labor organizers, over 3/4 of all Union workers have some form of health insurance benefits linked to their job. Therefore, the decline in union-based workers has resented in lower levels of aggregate coverage, especially as more workers return to the labor force as contractors, part-time workers or seasonal employers in positions which lack benefits. Unemployed workers are able to retain the same coverage rates as their previous health plans for up to 12-months under COBRA, but these workers also must pay for the expenses, co-payments and premium increase of their own pockets.

Affordable Health Care for Families

While unemployment benefits and subsidy programs can help alleviate short-term pressures, health care reform must focus on providing long-term solutions for under-insured families. Under the proposals being considered in the Legislature, health reform is focusing on providing both better access to group rates for individual workers, as well as a public option plan to put downward pressure on promotions. The result of these proposals aims to help independent workers build secure, strong families in the context of economic pressures.

Source by Travis Walker