*Update: I mistakingly posted this earlier with a missing graph. Apologies.
I don’t often refer to personal anecdotes when writing about policy. Often I view these macro/micro issues in the abstract – sometimes for better or worse – yet that changed this morning when I took my wife to the doctor’s office to get her annual health checkup. For various reasons, we do not have health insurance, and paying out of pocket for a routine visit cost me the equivalent of five days of work. We cannot afford the policies available in the individual marketplace for my current state of residence, and we’re not poor enough (primarily because I’m employed) to qualify for Medicaid.
To be sure, our situation is slightly more one of choice than circumstance (though circumstances certainly contributed), so I don’t profess to be helpless in this regard. Yet after reading this piece about the HHS’s relegating the definition in the Affordable Care Act of “essential benefits” to the states, and the political benefits of doing so (for the Administration, at least), I was sort of lost in thought about my role in the macro picture of health care in this country and why something like the PPACA was passed. In graph form, via KFF: