One of the most significant topics in the recent Democratic debates has been the issue of health care. Despite a common belief that private insurance should not be part of the equation, the individual insurance market accounts for a large part of the American economy. Private coverage plays such a leading role in so much of the economic system that its loss would have adverse effects for the country as a whole.
Most Americans Are Covered
According to government surveys, 90 percent of Americans have health care coverage. Out of the numbers of people who are currently uninsured, more than half could receive coverage through programs currently in existence. For those who lack coverage, the biggest challenges appear to involve co-pay and deductible costs.
Another commonly cited problem is the issue of underinsured Americans. Policymakers who advocate in favor of keeping private insurance cite cost as a leading cause of people struggling to pay their medical bills. For those who favor preserving the individual market, fixing what is wrong is essential.
Employers and Commercial Insurance
There are several types of commercial insurance that employers are required by law to have in place, such as workers’ compensation insurance. Companies that provide workers’ compensation, liability, and other necessary insurance products account for a large part of the American job market. Also of great significance is how much insurance coverage is employer-provided.
Employers with a higher number of employees are required to provide health coverage for full-time employees, who may not be required to pay more than 9.86 percent of their household income towards their share of the costs. In addition to health coverage, employers must also pay for workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance benefits.
The Economic Impact
One of the biggest concerns that many have is that higher health care costs could slow economic growth. A trend that has become more common is employers requiring their employees to contribute more towards their coverage. Business owners cite greatly increased costs as a concern over the possibility of replacing private insurance altogether.
The far-reaching impact of private insurance on the U.S. economy is a good reason for private insurance to remain available. While rising costs and affordability are issues, many who are knowledgeable of the industry and its impact see doing away with individual coverage as a negative step, rather than one that is positive. Strengthening and improving private coverage is better step moving forward.