Middle Class Losing Health Coverage Faster than Poor

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Employer-sponsored insurance (ESI) has long been the mainstay of health coverage for most middle class American families. But a new report from the nonpartisan Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has found that this class of Americans is losing its health coverage faster than any other income group. Unlike low-income earners, middle class Americans don't have the safety net of a government program like Medicaid. Secondly, the cost of an independent policy is just too high; and in some states, people are denied coverage because of pre-existing ailments.

Brian Quinn, Senior Program Officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation joins us to talk about the study. And Dr. Lelin Chao is with Baltimore's People's Community Health Centers. Her organization runs a network of clinics in Baltimore that provide low-cost medical services to the uninsured.


Dr. Lelin Chao and Brian Quinn

Produced by:

Adi Narayan

Comments [8]

Nikeofficer from South Jersey

I'm have Medicare coverage, but my Supplemental Aetna coverage cost three times the Medicare premium and pays, if anything, no more than 20% of the remaining costs. Aetna is robbing me blind.

Mar. 18 2010 11:37 PM
Megan from Oklahoma

As a (poorly) self-insured member of the middle class, still in my 20's, I'm sure I'm not alone in that I use the internet to self-diagnose some medical problems and then decide from there if it's "bad enough" to force myself to pay to see a doctor. Generally, I skip the doc and ride it out at home. The last time I did seek treatment, I had to pay 45% of my monthly income for a 30 minute office visit and out-patient exam.

Mar. 18 2010 10:10 AM
Peg from Southern Tier NY

Rick Evens - Mass., I agree with you. There are many examples of affordable health care delivery systems that are not single payer. The difference between the US and the rest of the civilized world is that in the US, we pay the "most bucks for the bang!" If any country is to make health care affordable, everyone has to give a little - the doctors, the patients, the drug companies... Patients need to take better care of themselves and be aware of the true costs of their health care. Doctors might need to take the same sort of pay cut that the rest of Americans have had to swallow, drug companies don't need to charge Americans more than people in other countries. But my question is still the same. Why do Americans put up with this nonsense?

Mar. 18 2010 09:56 AM
Dick from Detroit

I have no money for health care. I haven't had any for years. When this bill passes, I suppose the government will want to give insurance companies money for a highly overpriced junk plan that has deductibles and copays which will still keep care out of reach. Thankfully, at least the insurance executives will continue to live like royalty instead of suffering the indignities that bankers have had to go through.

Mar. 18 2010 09:37 AM
J. D. Shaw from Detroit

At 50 I was downsized in 2002 and my wife followed 2 years later. I had no idea how high health-care costs were because I was being subsidized by my employer for 23 years. With 5 young kids we quickly spent our severance packages on health care. Our monthly health care bill insurance bill was over $1,000 dollars. We were all healthy, but the health care TV commercials regarding cancer, heart disease, swine-flu, etc. scared us to paying for insurance. We are now self-employed with only minimal insurance coverage. We are still scared, but trying to eat healthier to minimize doctor's visits and health costs.

This is a crazy country... We fight unwarranted wars without thinking about it, but denounce health-care because it might cost too much??? Why would anyone not want free or less expensive health-care? For you people who are fighting against health care... just don't lose your jobs.

I wonder how history is going to view us.

Mar. 18 2010 09:14 AM
Robbie Bailey from New York City

Thank you, thank you for bringing attention to this very important topic! Our health care reform photography project visually supports this tragic statistic. Please give it a look!
We are small business owners and our health insurance has gone up 65% in the past three years. We can't afford to hold on much longer. Health insurance reform is not a political issue for us, it's a personal one.

Mar. 18 2010 08:57 AM
Rick Evans from Massachusetts

Peg wrote: "Single Payer would save this country so much money, it's difficult to understand why Americans are opposed to it.The rest of the world stands by and watches us spend way too much per person and wonders just how stupid Americans really are."
Neither Netherlands nor Germany have single payer. Both have universal health insurance and use a combination of private and public insurers.
A basic, high quality health insurance policy in the Netherlands is less than $200 per month regardless of your age, income or health status.


The difference is they use global budgeting to contain costs. Medicare is single payer and its spending is out of control. Medicare part D made a lot of geezers happy they could continue getting their high priced pills while drug companies were kept happy knowing they wouldn't have to negotiate prices with Medicare.

Our rent-a-Congress and rent-a-President are too under the control of medical industrial complex interests to take even the first step towards reforming access to health care.

Giving every no-income or low-income person a free or subsidized insurance card or telling a middle income taxpayer buy insurance or you'll be fined is NOT reform.

Mar. 18 2010 08:22 AM

As more and more of us lose our jobs, Americans will come to their senses and demand Single Payer Health Care or Medicare for all. We are self employed now and make $20000 per year and health insurance is not something we can afford. We pay for care out of pocket and pray we stay healthy and have no accidents. Single Payer would save this country so much money, it's difficult to understand why Americans are opposed to it. The rest of the world stands by and watches us spend way too much per person and wonders just how stupid Americans really are.

Mar. 18 2010 06:47 AM

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