Story at a glance
- Many Americans who have been laid off or furloughed during the coronavirus pandemic have health insurance through their jobs.
- Some have lost coverage entirely, but many furloughed workers are still holding onto their employers’ plans, according to a new survey.
- Hispanic and lower-income workers were more likely to be furloughed or laid off, the survey found.
As some Americans continue to push back against mandating face masks and other recommended public health measures, a majority of both Democrats and Republicans support such requirements.
A newly published survey of more than 2,000 Americans found that 85 percent supported face mask requirements and 81 percent supported regular COVID-19 testing and government contact tracing until there is a vaccine. More people said they trust public health officials to open the economy and keep people safe, followed by state governors, than President Trump.
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"A vaccine for COVID-19 is months, if not years, away. In light of this, federal and state officials are attempting to balance uncertainty over risks to people’s health and to health care system capacity if infections spike with the effects of a continued lockdown on the economy and jobs. Even as states have started to reopen, many have experienced a surge in cases and hospitalizations," the report said.
The Commonwealth Fund Health Care Poll also found that 2 in 5 adults reporting job disruption said they or their partner or spouse, or both, had employer-based insurance through the affected job. One in 5 said they’re now uninsured.
“This survey shows how our piecemeal approach to health insurance coverage in the United States leaves too many people without coverage or just a layoff away from losing it. Here in the fourth month of COVID-19 related job losses, a growing number of people won’t be able to afford health care in the midst of the worst public health crisis in modern times. It has never been clearer how important it is to ensure that all U.S. residents have affordable, comprehensive coverage regardless of their employment status," said Sara Collins, Vice President of Health Care Coverage and Access, in a statement.
Hispanics and people with incomes less than $50,000 experienced the highest rates of furloughs and layoffs, according to the survey. Out of the general population surveyed, which included an oversample of African Americans and Hispanics, 31 percent of Hispanics and 27 percent of people with incomes below $50,000 reported job disruption, compared to 18 percent of white respondents and 16 percent of those with higher incomes.
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