The latest stats on America’s uninsured masses came out Nov. 10 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the picture isn’t pretty. More than 59 million Americans did not have health insurance coverage for at least a portion of 2010. The number of uninsured this year is up by about 4 million people from 2008. It’s not just the poor or healthy who are living without insurance coverage. According to CDC statistics, half of the uninsured in America are over the poverty level and one-third are middle-class adults under the age of 65.
This is the backdrop against which a number of forces are working to repeal President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which overhauls the U.S. health care system and is expected to extend insurance coverage to an additional 30 million Americans. Republicans are vowing to block funding of the legislation, while some states are challenging the provision of the act requiring individuals to carry health insurance.
Despite such active opposition, not everyone is anticipating that health care reform will be repealed—at least not in full. Ezra Klein, who covers economic and domestic policy for the Washington Post, explains why public opinion really doesn’t support doing away with all aspects of the law.
TheAtlantic.com takes the conversation to Andrew Webber, president and CEO of the National Business Coalition on Health, a national, non-profit group representing public and private employers. Webber explains why his organization expects most of the law to remain intact, including “expansion of coverage through the mandate, expanding Medicaid, state insurance exchanges, regulation of health insurance.”
Webber also discusses why employers want to work toward a health care system focused on wellness care rather than sick care. “Today's system is too focused on acute care for illness,” Webber told TheAtlantic.com’s Derek Thompson. “We pour in resources after people get very sick rather than invest in the management of chronic disease. We think this presents a huge opportunity for better health, better care, better costs.”