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Since the mid-20th Century, most Americans have obtained health insurance through workplace-based coverage. In recent years there has been a decline in such coverage caused by a rise in the number of jobs that do not provide coverage at all and growth in the number of workers who decline coverage because it is too expensive.
Faced with the unavailability or unaffordability of health coverage on the job, growing numbers of lower-income workers are turning to taxpayer-funded healthcare programs such as Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).
This trend is putting an added burden on programs that are already under stress because of fiscal constraints caused by medical inflation and federal cutbacks. Many states are curtailing benefits and tightening eligibility requirements.
It also raises the issue of whether states are being put in a position of subsidizing the cost-cutting measures of private sector employers. continue reading

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