According to the Economic Policy Institute, upward of six million workers have lost employer-provided health insurance since the pandemic began. Since most workers have families, the total number of people who’ve lost coverage likely exceeds double that, or more than 12 million.
A pandemic, needless to say, is a hell of a time for people to be without health insurance. Out-of-work people are often not quite poor enough for Medicaid, and even the low-cost “bronze” plans available under the Affordable Care Act are far from affordable once you factor in high deductibles and co-pays.
This is a major scandal. However, the bigger scandal is the fact that the HEROES Act, passed by the House in May, pays the total cost of allowing laid-off workers to keep their employer coverage, but Republicans keep blocking its enactment.
The substitute bill brought to the Senate floor by Mitch McConnell last week, which failed to get the necessary 60 votes, did not include a dime to help unemployed workers and their families with health coverage.
What’s even more scandalous is that Republicans keep escaping political accountability for blocking corona relief. Joe Biden needs to be making a major issue of this, and every Democrat running for the House or Senate should be hanging it around the Republicans’ neck.