Schmudget Blog
— filed under:

The Power of Public Investment in Health Care

Posted by Lori Pfingst at Sep 17, 2013 09:25 PM |
Filed under:

New data released from the Census Bureau today show that investments in public health insurance programs prevented a rise in the number of uninsured Washingtonians in the wake of the recession. The number of people without health insurance remains at historically high levels, but the implementation of the Affordable Care Act will offer nearly one million Washingtonians currently without health insurance the opportunity to access affordable care.

Employers have been dropping health insurance benefits for adults and children since 2000, but the decline in employer-based coverage was most notable during the recession as unemployment rose dramatically. Public health insurance played a vital role during this time, providing over 250,000 Washingtonians with benefits that ensure they are able to see a doctor when they are sick without the fear of overwhelming medical costs.

The power of public investments in health care is most notable for kids (see chart).  Children were the most likely to be dropped from employer-based health insurance coverage during the recession, but the rate of uninsurance among kids remained unchanged. That’s in large part due to Washington state’s Apple Health for Kids program, which successfully provided health care for children. 

2013 health care day

The impact of Apple Health for Kids shows how powerful public investment in health care can be.  Full implementation of the Affordable Care Act will reap further returns from public investment, offering three of every four [1] currently uninsured Washingtonians the opportunity to obtain affordable health care, which would dramatically reduce the number of uninsured by 2014 and drive down the cost of health care for everyone. 

The rate of uninsured has leveled off, which is good news, but we’ve got more work to do.  Fully implementing health reform means that Washingtonians will have the security and peace of mind that comes with quality, affordable health insurance, which is good for our state’s families, businesses, communities, and economy.

1. “What’s at stake:  The Affordable Care Act in Washington state: A county-by-county analysis,” Washington State Insurance Commissioner, 2012.

Document Actions
HIGHLIGHTS

GiveBIG 2016 medium icon 

GiveBIG is May 3

Seattle's annual giving event is right around the corner. And for the first time this year, a group of our board members is giving a $4,000 challenge grant to inspire even more people to make a gift to the Budget & Policy Center! You can schedule your gift for #GiveBIG now. A gift to us is an investment in the progress and prosperity of Washington state.

Our Legislative Agenda

During the 2016 legislative session, the Budget & Policy Center promoted several of the common-sense policy ideas we developed for the 2015-2017 bienniumOur Legislative Agenda calls for an equitable, sustainable revenue system in addition to state investments that: promote a world-class education system; sustain a strong middle class; produce living-wage jobs, and ensure that all Washingtonians have equal opportunity to get ahead. 

Budget Beat 

Listen to our Budget Beat offering highlights of the 2016 legislative session! 

Testimonies in Olympia

We testified in support of a number of important bills during the 2016 legislative session. Take a look:

  • Policy Analyst Elena Hernandez's testimony (at the 23:23 minute mark) on the House Bill that would take a two-generation approach to preventing poverty 
  • Associate Director of Fiscal Policy Andy Nicholas's testimony (at the 1:54:09 mark) on the House bill focused on aerospace-related tax breaks
  • Research and Policy Director Lori Pfingst's House testimony (at the 9:25 mark) and Senate testimony (at the 1:44:54 mark) on the two-generation approach to poverty prevention bill 

Budget Matters Summit

Thank you to all who attended our our Budget Matters 2015 policy summit. If you missed it (or would like to relive it), you can watch a highlight video of the summit or watch the full summit panel -- which featured a range of community leaders talking about how to advance racial equity in state policymaking.