The U.S. Health Insurance System

- October 23, 2020
Will the COVID-19 pandemic transform it?
Photo of a trauma patient being rushed into an exam area at a hospital in Moreno Valley, Calif. (Getty Images/Los Angeles Times/Gina Ferazzi)
COVID-19 sparked a recession and massive job cuts, which have cost millions of people their health insurance. An estimated 160 million Americans had insurance through an employer before the pandemic, and as many as 43 million may lose their coverage. The dramatic change could upend the U.S. employer-based health insurance system, as more people join government programs such as Medicaid or use tax subsidies to buy plans on Obamacare exchanges.

Threatened Coverage

2020 Politics

Supreme Court Challenge

1900–1954Health insurance emerges in the United States.
1965–1997Government's role in health insurance expands.
2010–PresentObamacare opens new era for U.S. health insurance.

Can the current insurance system survive the COVID-19 pandemic?


Ilyse Schuman
Senior Vice President, Health Policy, American Benefits Council.


Emily Barson
Executive Director, United States of Care.


BONUS REPORT: Reparations for Slavery

Are slaves' descendants owed compensation?

Police Under Scrutiny

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Monument Protests

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Systemic Racism - 10/30/2020

Can the structures of inequality be overcome?

Wildfire Prevention - 11/6/2020

Can better forest management solve the problem?

Reports are published online 44 times a year. Click here to see the 2020 publication schedule.

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