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Economic recovery forgot to tell the uninsured that things are looking up

March 16, 2011|By Tami Dennis, Tribune Health
  • Job loss takes a toll that reverberates. Many unemployed workers have had a hard time getting insurance again.
Job loss takes a toll that reverberates. Many unemployed workers have had…

The recession just keeps on giving, in reverse form -- especially to the jobless, who then become the uninsured. A new report from the Commonwealth Fund paints the picture.

The report, released Wednesday, begins:

"While the economy is beginning to recover from a deep recession, the job market has lagged painfully behind—leaving 13.7 million people unemployed, many for extended periods."

Among the findings from a survey last year of 3,033 adults:

-- "Nearly one-quarter (24%) of working-age adults — an estimated 43 million people — reported that they and/or their spouse had lost their job within the past two years."

-- "More than two of five (43%) or an estimated 11 million adults who ventured into the individual
market said they found it very difficult or impossible to find a plan with coverage that fit theirneeds."

-- "Nearly three of 10 (28%) working-age adults, an estimated 52 million people, were uninsuredfor at least some time during 2010, up from 38 million or 24% in 2001."

-- "The number of adults who reported spending large amounts of their income on premiums andout-of-pocket costs climbed over the decade."

This is not a dispassionate, nonpolitical look at U.S. healthcare by any means. The executive summary states: "These survey findings demonstrate that the passage of the Affordable Care Act last year was critical to the future health and well-being of working families."

But the report is no less valuable for that. And the numbers say a lot.

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