Filed under: Health
Igor Volsky says private health insurers are increasingly failing to cover Americans, and government programs are picking up the slack; and adduces a chart that shows private coverage and employer-based private coverage shrank 0.8% from 2007 to 2008 while Medicare, SCHIP and Medicaid coverage grew. Thing is, this data doesn’t necessarily show what Volsky says it shows. For instance, the population is growing older, so you’d figure more people are shifting out of the workforce and into Medicare eligibility. You’d need to include some data on how much of this change is accounted for demographic shifts before you can draw quite the conclusions he does.
Still, it seems pretty unlikely that the population could age so fast that it would account for most of that shift in just one year. It probably is mostly the rising cost of private health insurance.
Add: I posted this in comments but realize it really belongs in the post: It doesn’t look like this is about aging…
…Ben Smith at Politico posts the same chart but also shows the data for 2000. And from 2000 to 2008, it’s much more clear that people are moving out of private insurance and into government. In that time span private coverage fell from 72.6% to 66.7% of the population, while government coverage increased from 24.7% to 27.8% and the uninsured went from 13.7% to 15.4%. And overall, Medicare rose only 0.8%, from 13.5% to 14.3%, with most of that happening last year. So I don’t think this is about aging.
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