On April 6, Business Insider reported that, according to a study by Health Management Associates, between 12 million to 35 million Americans could lose their health insurance due to layoffs from the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition, MarketWatch recently reported on current health insurance options for people who lose their jobs, including turning to the Affordable Care Act, which conservatives have long vilified as the first step to “socialized medicine.” How ironic that in this time of crisis, conservative business reporters are recommending the very program they’ve opposed for the last decade!
This pandemic has exposed the obvious: Having health insurance tied to your job is a dangerous gamble, a gamble that no one in any other wealthy country has to make, because in every wealthy country except the United States, health care coverage is guaranteed; it’s not tied to your job.
While the ACA has provided important improvements over what was available previously (such as not allowing health insurers to turn down people with pre-existing conditions and expanding Medicaid in several states), it’s not enough, as health insurance remains unaffordable for many. We need expanded Medicare for All. No one should have to worry about losing their health insurance when they lose their job. This country has the means, now we need the political will to make it happen.