Growing inequality in health-care coverage through work creates urgency for CHIP reauthorization

As the 100-day mark since Congress let the Children’s Health Insurance Program’s (CHIP) funding lapse has passed, and as families nationwide begin to receive letters that they may soon lose their children’s insurance, we have been reflecting on how and why CHIP has become so important in the health-care debate.

It used to be that health insurance offered through an employer was a great workplace equalizer; the CEO and a line worker in the same company were likely to be covered by the same insurance plan. There was something quite unifying and democratic about the idea that when it came to illness, at least for people who worked together, everyone had access to the same benefits. And whether you had a spouse or children, work would cover them, too. This is no longer our reality.

Today, it is less and less likely that a boss and his or her employees are covered by the same health coverage plan – and some executives have an entirely different set of plan options from their employees. But even when executives and their employees are choosing from among the same health-care plans, the growing disparity in the affordability of coverage options makes the process of choosing a plan very different for the average worker.

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