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What if we don't pass health reform?


When opponents to health reform began citing studies showing how a mandate might erode employer-sponsored health care coverage, they probably didn't consider what might happen to such plans if health reform doesn't occur.

The Economic Policy Institute released a report this week that shows the strain that the escalating cost of the current system is placing on employers, families and individuals. The report, "Employer-sponsored health insurance erosion continues," shows that employer-sponsored health care coverage has declined every year since 2000, leaving a disproportionate number of young, Hispanic, lower-educated and lower-income people uninsured.

The report also projects that another 10 million people could be without employer-sponsored insurance by 2010 unless the economy makes an unpredicted swift rebound or there is large-scale health reform.

The EPI asserts that without health reform, the total number of uninsured Americans under the age of 65 could swell to more than 50 million by next year. To give us an idea of just how many people that is, the EPI points out that it's the number of people living in California and Illinois combined.

Interestingly, Massachusetts and Hawaii--two states that require employers above a certain size to provide health care coverage to their workers—has the highest employer-sponsored coverage rates: 72.5% and 71.5%, respectively.

Conversely, states that have the lowest employer-sponsored coverage rates are Michigan, Tennessee, Missouri, South Carolina and North Carolina.