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August 4, 2020 –
Health Coverage Losses Deepen as 2 Million More Adults Become Uninsured; Health Insurance Reductions Will Cause Significant Job Losses, New Reports Find
Two companion reports to Families USA’s widely-cited, recent report on health insurance losses due to COVID-19 show that health insurance suffered a critical collapse beginning the very week in June when the Senate adjourned for its July 4 recess, and that millions of jobs will disappear unless Congress stops this ongoing erosion of health insurance. No COVID-19 legislation yet enacted has protected comprehensive health coverage—though bills the House passed in May would provide additional financial assistance to help the uninsured purchase COBRA and other forms of private health insurance.
America’s Coverage Crisis Deepens: New Survey Data Show Millions of Adults Became Uninsured, Starting in Late June finds that, based on a new Census Bureau weekly survey, the number of uninsured adults rose significantly, starting in June’s final week – and all of the increase took place in families who have lost employment earnings since the pandemic first struck in mid-March. In that group, the number of uninsured adults rose by 2 million, or 12%, from one three week period (ending on June 23) to the next (ending on July 14). Particularly steep coverage losses occurred among African-Americans, families with children, and low-wage workers. Those whose earnings remained stable or rose during the pandemic actually gained coverage.
Without Federal Support for Health Insurance, Many More Jobs Will Be Lost finds that, if unemployment remains roughly at May 2020 levels, the resulting loss of comprehensive health insurance and consequent cut to revenue for hospitals and other health care providers will eliminate between 1.5 million and 2.5 million jobs, both in health care and related industries. Tennessee is projected to lose approximately 9,000 jobs in healthcare and related industries. And if unemployment rises significantly above levels experienced in May, as many as 4.7 million workers could lose their jobs because of health insurance reductions.
While some large health care companies have done well, the health care industry as a whole has been hemorrhaging revenue losses, further damaging an already wounded economy. They accounted for 29% of the second quarter’s record-breaking drop in gross domestic product, contributing more than any other sector to the country’s economic decline. More than 1 million workers lost health care jobs during the ‘pandemic’s first few months; a number exceeded only by unemployment in the restaurant industry. The report estimates further job losses that will result if still more revenue disappears from health care providers due to projected reductions in health insurance coverage. This will have dire consequences for rural hospitals, which are in greater financial trouble in Tennessee than in any other state.
“Our state and federal leaders must help millions of Americans whose lives are being turned upside down by the pandemic. Congress should enable people to keep their insurance when they lose their jobs. Tennessee can’t afford to be one of the last hold-outs refusing to expand Medicaid. It’s time for state leaders to extend Medicaid to 300,000 low-wage Tennesseans by claiming $1.4 billion annually in federal health care funds at this time when we need them the most. This isn’t politics as usual. Our leaders must meet the crisis by considering all options available,” said Michele Johnson, Executive Director of the Tennessee Justice Center.