Health Insurance and Mobility

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The Commonwealth Fund has a new study out on a topic near and dear to my heart: young adults. In particular, most of them don’t have health insurance, since after they pass the tender age of 19, they either get booted off their parents’ dependent coverage, or booted off Medicaid, or booted off CHIP. Meanwhile, many graduates lose coverage immediately after leaving college. And hey, we may look healthy, but not always—pregnancies, emergency room visits, diabetes—and young adults are less able to handle catastrophic costs than are, say, older adults who have saved up the money.

At any rate, the paper notes that it’s relatively easy to cover young adults, but as with most such studies, merely makes the moral case for doing so. Hey, I love the moral case; it’s a great case. But I figure most people either believe that millions of uninsured Americas are a moral scandal or they don’t. Fortunately, the paper hints at an economic case for covering young adults as well:

Contrary to conventional wisdom, young adults do not so easily dismiss the risks of not having health coverage. When the Biennial Health Insurance Survey questioned young workers about their desire for health insurance, seven of 10 of those between 19 and 29 years of age said that health insurance was very important to them in deciding whether or not to take a job, a rate similar to that for older workers.

In an ideal labor market, people would take the job they were best-suited for, so that we could properly harness everyone’s productive and creative capabilities and launch our way into the 21st century. Etcetra. But this survey suggests that a lack of coverage may be skewing the employment choices young people make. It’s possible that this affects older adults to, where, say, a parent might remain in a job she isn’t best suited for because she’s afraid of losing coverage for her family. In theory, the economy of the future should have a lot of labor mobility and people switching from one job to the next quite frequently; but a lack of health insurance will only gum up the works.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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