Universal Coverage

March 30, 2007 • Volume 17, Issue 12
Will all Americans finally get health insurance?
By Marcia Clemmitt

Introduction

Uninsured Americans often seek treatment in emergency rooms, such as this asthma sufferer at Coney Island Hospital in Brooklyn. While Congress has been expanding coverage for the very poor, students and lower-income workers are losing coverage. Today 45 million Americans lack health insurance.  (Getty Images/Mario Tama)
Uninsured Americans often seek treatment in emergency rooms, such as this asthma sufferer at Coney Island Hospital in Brooklyn. While Congress has been expanding coverage for the very poor, students and lower-income workers are losing coverage. Today 45 million Americans lack health insurance. (Getty Images/Mario Tama)

Some 45 million Americans lacked health insurance in 2005 — a number that has been climbing for two decades. Every month, about 2 million Americans become uninsured, at least temporarily, as lower-paying service jobs with minimal benefits replace union-dominated manufacturing jobs with health benefits — undercutting the nation's employer-based coverage system. Health costs — rising faster than wages or inflation — also push employers to drop coverage. Past legislative proposals for universal coverage relied heavily on government management, drawing fatal opposition from physicians and insurance companies. But now consensus may be forming around proposals requiring most Americans to buy private insurance with public assistance. Republican governors in California and Massachusetts back such plans, as does former Sen. John Edwards, the first presidential hopeful to announce what's expected to be a slew of universal-coverage proposals in the coming 2008 election.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Health Insurance
Sep. 21, 2012  Assessing the New Health Care Law
Jun. 11, 2010  Health-Care Reform Updated
Aug. 28, 2009  Health-Care Reform
Mar. 30, 2007  Universal Coverage
Jun. 14, 2002  Covering the Uninsured
Apr. 16, 1999  Managing Managed Care
Apr. 12, 1996  Managed Care
Mar. 17, 1995  Primary Care
Nov. 23, 1990  Setting Limits on Medical Care
Oct. 14, 1988  The Failure to Contain Medical Costs
Aug. 10, 1984  Health Care: Pressure for Change
Apr. 08, 1983  Rising Cost of Health Care
Jan. 28, 1977  Controlling Health Costs
Aug. 09, 1974  Health Maintenance Organizations
Jun. 13, 1973  Health Care in Britain and America
Jan. 18, 1970  Future of Health Insurance
Jun. 20, 1962  Health Care Plans and Medical Practice
May 28, 1958  Health Insurance Costs
Feb. 17, 1954  Government Aid for Health Plans
Nov. 22, 1949  Compensation for Disability
Aug. 30, 1946  Public Medical Care
Jan. 25, 1944  Medical Insurance
Sep. 16, 1938  Health Insurance in Foreign Countries
Mar. 06, 1937  Toward Health Insurance
Jul. 09, 1934  Sickness Insurance and Group Hospitalization
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Health Insurance and Managed Care
Medicaid and Medicare