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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."
The team caught a glimpse of a process that takes 18,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years.
- In Italy, a team of scientists is using a highly sophisticated detector to hunt for dark matter.
- The team observed an ultra-rare particle interaction that reveals the half-life of a xenon-124 atom to be 18 sextillion years.
- The half-life of a process is how long it takes for half of the radioactive nuclei present in a sample to decay.
A study looks at the ingredients of a good scare.
Catching fear in a bottle<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDYyNzg1Ny9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyOTQwMTcyMn0.WtpJ1E_dhK2o09fBpKARynj4_p5NXeklgsXsbd7xr9w/img.jpg?width=980" id="8ff51" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="f10dd9188b173f4a36e85e9325507c6b" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Credit: Photo Boards/Unsplash<p>Previous studies have tracked physiological signs of fear arousal, but none have established a one-to-one correlation between that arousal and specific, actual fear events.</p><p>Andersen says that much of the research has been conducted in lab settings with weak fear stimuli, observing subjects as they experience things like scary videos. Scares in these situations tend to be weak and difficult to measure. Even harder to track in these situations is the link between enjoyment and fear. </p>
Eyes everywhere<iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/109695164" width="100%" height="480" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="267ba87cfb8591ed5830499574d2272a"></iframe><p>Andersen and his colleagues conducted their experiments at <a href="https://dystopia.dk" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Dystopia</a> Haunted House, a commercial attraction in Vejle, Denmark constructed in an old, run-down factory. The Recreational Fear Lab has a long-standing partnership with the spook shack.</p><p>They outfitted 100 volunteers with heart monitors and sent them on their terrifying way through the 50-room horror mansion. The facility incorporates a number of fright mechanisms including frequent jump scares in which a sudden threat takes a visitor by surprise.</p><p>Researchers surreptitiously observed their participants on closed-circuit video as they made their way through the attraction. They tracked each individual's scares, scoring them for intensity according to their visible reactions. After exiting the attraction, individuals self-reported their experiences in the haunted house.</p><p>Combining these self-reports with observer notes and each participant's heart-rate data gave the researchers subjective, behavioral, and physiological insights into the ways in which fear is experienced, and when it's a good thing or not.</p>
A pair of inverted U-shapes<p>In analyzing their data, the researchers saw two separate inverted u-shape curves. One depicted participants' enjoyment based on their self-reports and observed behavior. A similar u-curve was detected in their heart rates showing that just the right amount of heartbeat acceleration is associated with fun, but too much is too much. It's the terror Goldilocks zone.</p><p>Says Andersen, "If people are not very scared, they do not enjoy the attraction as much, and the same happens if they are too scared. Instead, it seems to be the case that a 'just-right' amount of fear is central for maximizing enjoyment."</p><p>The research suggests that being scared is enjoyable when it represents just a quick minor physiological deviation from one's normal state. When it goes on too long, however, or triggers too severe a physiological change, it becomes disturbing. Game over.</p><p>Andersen notes that this is not dissimilar to the factors known to make interpersonal play enjoyable: just the right amount of uncertainty and surprise. These are, maybe not coincidentally, also the ingredients of a successful joke.</p>
A meteorite that smashed into a frozen lake in Michigan may explain the origins of life on Earth, finds study.
- A new paper reveals a meteorite that crashed in Michigan in 2018 contained organic matter.
- The findings support the panspermia theory and could explain the origins of life on Earth.
- The organic compounds on the meteorite were well-preserved.
Meteor streaks through Michigan sky<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="80b7f30820153b35fc515592d7475f53"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/EPu2qnqMYBo?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
The meteorite that smashed into Strawberry Lake carried pristine extraterrestrial organic compounds.
Credit: Field Museum