Recession Causing Massive Health Insurance Losses

Nayla Kazzi released a report for CAP today showing on the rising number of Americans losing health insurance as the recession drags on. Here’s a chart:

First point: We need health care reform.

Second point: While it’s probably undesirable to do anything that would imperil anyone’s employer-provided coverage in the short-term, it would be highly desirable for reform to light a path away from the current employer-based system.

Third point: This highlights a huge flaw in the way our current system works. Right now, a person who develops a serious medical problem can continue to enjoy health insurance coverage if and only if he or she is able to maintain health insurance continuously. But if you lose your insurance because you get laid off, and then can’t find a new job for a while because of generally bad labor market conditions, then even though you’ll be able to get a new job when the economy revives, you’ll now find that your illness means you can’t get coverage for your medical problem. That’s totally rational business practice, but it completely defeats the purpose of a health care system which is precisely to ensure that sick people can get health care.