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27 million Americans may have lost employer health insurance amid pandemic
In the near future, most unemployed Americans will have access to government-subsidized programs. But that's set to change in 2021.
- A new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that nearly two-thirds of the 31 million recently laid-off Americans had relied on employer-sponsored health insurance.
- The coverage gap could expand rapidly in 2021 when unemployment benefits expire for Americans living in states that have not expanded Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
- In June, the Supreme Court is set to issue a decision on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.
Nearly 27 million Americans may have lost their employer-sponsored health insurance amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation report.
Between March 1 and May 2, unemployment in the U.S. soared to Depression-era rates, with more than 31 million Americans filing for unemployment benefits. The report estimates that 61 percent of these unemployed Americans had relied on employer-sponsored insurance.
Most of these people will have access to government-subsidized insurance.
"Among people who become uninsured after job loss, we estimate that nearly half (12.7 million) are eligible for Medicaid, and an additional 8.4 million are eligible for marketplace subsidies, as of May 2020," the report states.
The most traumatic #jobsreport ever: - Payrolls fell 20.5 million in Apr > largest decline ever > more than 2* wor… https://t.co/CIJujYhaSU— Gregory Daco (@Gregory Daco)1588941886.0
Unemployed Americans may also continue their employer-sponsored coverage through the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA), which requires insurance programs to continue covering qualified unemployed Americans for up to 18 months after leaving employment. However, the report states that this "is typically quite expensive since unemployed workers generally have to pay the entire premium – employer premiums average $7,188 for a single person and $20,576 for a family of four – plus an additional 2%."
Although coverage will be more expensive for some, the vast majority of Americans will not go completely uninsured.
"We project that very few people fall into the coverage gap immediately after job loss (as of May 2020) because wages before job loss plus unemployment benefits (including the temporary $600 per week federal supplement added by Congress) push annual income for many unemployed workers in non-expansion states above the poverty level, making them eligibility for ACA marketplace subsidies for the rest of the calendar year," the report states.
Kaiser Family Foundation
But the report estimates that the coverage gap could grow by 80 percent in January 2021. That's when unemployment insurance benefits are set to expire in states that did not expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Three of those states are Texas, Georgia, and Florida — all of which have suffered especially high job-loss rates amid the pandemic.
Texas v. United States
The Trump administration and Republican lawmakers in 20 states are currently seeking to strike down the ACA, arguing that the act's individual mandate provision is unconstitutional. (The individual mandate requires most Americans to maintain a minimum level of health insurance). In June, the Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision on Texas v. United States, the lawsuit challenging the act's constitutionality.
The court could decide to leave the act as is. It could invalidate just the individual mandate provision. Or it could overturn all or most of the ACA, which would leave millions of Americans without health insurance, assuming there's no replacement program.
The Kaiser report concludes by highlighting the importance of health care during a pandemic.
"Given the health risks facing all Americans right now, access to health coverage after loss of employment provides important protection against catastrophic health costs and facilitates access to needed care," the report states. "Unemployment Insurance filings continue to climb each week, and it is likely that people will continue to lose employment and accompanying ESI for some time, though some of them will return to work as social distancing curbs are loosened."
Innovation in manufacturing has crawled since the 1950s. That's about to speed up.
Here's why you might eat greenhouse gases in the future.
- The company's protein powder, "Solein," is similar in form and taste to wheat flour.
- Based on a concept developed by NASA, the product has wide potential as a carbon-neutral source of protein.
- The man-made "meat" industry just got even more interesting.
Seriously sustainable<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTk0MDIzNS9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyMjM4NTMzMX0.BCEfYnn6C3z1zUHIS38xOWjXktgamNBi5iyqklSMYK8/img.png?width=980" id="ea524" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="50533380eeb18eb5833b6b6aa3abec38" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Image source: Solar Foods<p>Solar Foods makes Solein by extracting CO₂ from air using <a href="https://www.fastcompany.com/90356326/we-have-the-tech-to-suck-co2-from-the-air-but-can-it-suck-enough-to-make-a-difference" target="_blank">carbon-capture technology</a>, and then combines it with water, nutrients and vitamins, using 100 percent renewable solar energy from partner <a href="https://www.fortum.com" target="_blank">Fortum</a> to promote a natural fermentation process similar to the one that produces yeast and lactic acid bacteria.</p><p>When the company claims its single-celled protein is "free from agricultural limitations," they're not kidding. Being produced indoors means Solar Foods is not dependent on arable land, water (i.e., rain), or favorable weather.</p><p>The company is already working with the European Space Agency to develop foods for off-planet production and consumption. (The idea for Solein actually began at NASA.) They also see potential in bringing protein production to areas whose climate or ground conditions make conventional agriculture impossible.</p><p>And let's not forget all those <a href="https://www.bk.com/menu-item/impossible-whopper" target="_blank">beef-free burgers</a> based on pea and soy proteins currently gaining popularity. The environmental challenge of scaling up the supply of those plants to meet their high demand may provide an opening for the completely renewable Solein — the company could provide companies that produce animal-free "meats," such as <a href="https://www.beyondmeat.com/products/" target="_blank">Beyond Meat</a> and <a href="https://impossiblefoods.com" target="_blank">Impossible Foods</a>, a way to further reduce their environmental impact.</p>
The larger promise<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTk0MDI0MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1NjU4MTg2OX0.7dZZYT5WEV_EupBuLVFwHynarTiz8RYR9aJtC6Ts2C4/img.jpg?width=980" id="3415d" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2e6eebe06d795f844752f9e9d30040d7" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Image source: Solar Foods<p>The impact of the beef — and for that matter, poultry, pork, and fish — industries on our planet is widely recognized as one of the main drivers behind climate change, pollution, habitat loss, and antibiotic-resistant illness. From the cutting down of rainforests for cattle-grazing land, to runoff from factory farming of livestock and plants, to the disruption of the marine food chain, to the overuse of antibiotics in food animals, it's been disastrous.</p><p>The advent of a promising source of protein derived from two of the most renewable things we have, CO₂ and sunlight, <a href="https://solarfoods.fi/environmental-impact/" target="_blank">gets us out of the planet-destruction business</a> at the same time as it offers the promise of a stable, long-term solution to one of the world's most fundamental nutritional needs.</p>
Solar Foods' timetable<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTk0MTEzMS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTU5OTU1OTMwMn0.wnXh56iO_77x2XKV2uIPf78BKw4AJLUpmiyq_JBVGvo/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=172%2C146%2C62%2C135&height=700" id="0297c" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="125c9a98ec818f5c241fa28ef1423e67" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Image source: Lubsan / Shutterstock / Big Think<p>While company plans are always moderated by unforeseen events — including the availability of sufficient funding — Solar Foods plans a global commercial rollout for Solein in 2021 and to be producing two million meals annually, with a revenue of $800 million to $1.2 billion by 2023. By 2050, they hope to be providing sustenance to 9 billion people as part of a $500 billion protein market.</p><p>The project began in 2018, and this year, they anticipate achieving three things: Launching Solein (check), beginning the approval process certifying its safety as a Novel Food in the EU, and publishing plans for a 1,000-metric ton-per-year factory capable of producing 500 million meals annually.</p>
The protein powder Solein. Image source: SOLAR FOODS
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