Shorter George Will to Arianna Huffington: “Oh, calm down, you silly girl; Americans are happy with their health insurance, so stop whining.”
Nothing patronizing there. Nope. Move along.
Earth to ABC’s favorite recipient of media welfare, George Will:
The percentage of people with employer-based insurance is declining rapidly; it’s now below 59 percent, and those still covered are getting less coverage and being forced to accept more of the risks pushed onto them by insurers struggling to meet Wall Street’s demands for lower medical loss ratios (aka, less coverage, more profits).
As the employer-based coverage shrinks, it pushes people once covered at work into the highly concentrated individual “markets.” There, the insurers’ death spiral is forcing massive increases in premiums for the sick (see Anthem BC/BS) and inducing those who are young/well now to drop coverage in a bet they won’t also get sick, thus driving up premiums more, etc, etc.
The very concept of private “health insurance” is failing, and the only thing saving some of its victims is the expansion of public insurance programs like SCHIP and Medicaid, which the reform bills would extend.
Every trend line says America’s private insurance system is imploding, leaving tens of millions at risk and killing/bankrupting thousands. But the willfully misinformed and misinforming George Will says we’re all happy, not to worry, because, you know, he’s well off and can afford his insurance.
And the reason he’s okay (and hence the country must be fine, since he presumes to speak for the common man) is because the beltway media feel compelled to hire, sustain and overpay a fact-challenged conservative hack because that’s what they do.
Related links to follow:
Kaiser, Employer Health Benefits 2009 Annual Survey
EPI, Employer-sponsored health insurance erosion continues, will likely accelerate through 2009
Commonwealth Fund, Trends in Underinsurance and the Affordability of Employer Health Coverage 2004-2007
Wonk Room, Medicaid program sees highest one-year increase in 40 years
Paul Krugman, California Death Spiral (Anthem)
CAP, Map of Health Insurance Competition (Concentration)
Crooks and Liars, Wendell Potter on Medical Loss Ratios
Seminal Archives, Paul Krugman on Republican health care logic: the Great Forgetting meets the Great Disingenuousness