Health Reform and the Middle Class

[UPDATE: Read more from Terrell McSweeny, Domestic Policy Advisor to the Vice President.]

As the Vice President was beginning his roundtable with HHS Secretary Sebelius and White House Health Reform Director DeParle, the Middle Class Task Force was releasing its new report : "Why Middle Class Americans Need Health Reform."

It may seem to go without saying that the middle class needs health reform as much as anybody, but the report reveals statistics that put the urgency of that need in a new, harsh light. The report’s analysis of diminishing coverage for the middle class is a good example:
Diminishing Coverage
Middle class Americans and their families are facing a growing challenge in obtaining or maintaining their health insurance coverage.
  • Over a quarter of the uninsured are middle class Americans.
  • The number of non-elderly middle class Americans who are uninsured has grown over time, from 11.1 million in 2001 to 12.5 million in 2007. Looking forward, without health reform, the number of middle class Americans without health insurance could be as high as 18.2 million in 2019.
  • In part, high rates of the uninsured among middle class Americans arise because middle income workers have a higher chance of not being offered health insurance through their job. In fact, of the 10.7 million non-elderly adults in the middle class bracket who are uninsured, nearly 90 percent are employed.
  • Nearly one in four middle class employees are not offered health insurance by their employers – and of those that are not, more than half remain uninsured. In comparison, only one in six high-income employees are not offered health insurance by their employers.
  • Part of the reason that middle income Americans are less likely to be offered coverage is because they are more likely to work in small businesses – 53 percent of middle income Americans work in small businesses, compared with 46 percent of higher income Americans. Of those who work in small business, 40 percent are not offered insurance.
Vice President Biden and Secretary Sebelius speak
(Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius speak at a healthcare roundtable in room 350 of the EEOB, Friday, July 10, 2009. Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

Your Federal Tax Receipt