Stories by Drew Altman, Kaiser Family Foundation

The quiet, steady rise of employer health coverage

Data: Kaiser Family Foundation; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

After many years of steady decline, the proportion of people under 65 with employer health coverage has started to increase. About seven million more people gained employer coverage between 2013 and 2017 — nearly as many as the 10 million people who were covered through the Affordable Care Act's marketplace last year.

Why it matters: Since people with employer coverage are the largest insured group in the country, the next wave of health reform will be more politically successful if it resonates with their concerns.

The detail that could make Medicare for All generous — and expensive

Adapted from a Peterson-Kaiser Health System Tracker chart. Spending is in purchasing power parity equivalents. Chart: Axios Visuals

Now that the Democrats have taken control of the House, their "Medicare for All" proposals are going to get hearings and scrutiny. One feature of Bernie Sanders' version that hasn't gotten a lot of attention yet, but it will: the plan has no deductibles or other forms of patient cost-sharing.

Why it matters: In a country where so many Americans are bedeviled by medical bills, especially people who are sick and use a lot of medical care, this would be a big deal. It would actually make our system more generous than any of the other developed nations that Democrats like to cite as models for our own.

The GOP's health problem: They like big chunks of the Affordable Care Act

A protester in New York holds a sign saying, "ACA saves lives"
A pro-ACA protest in New York in July 2017. Photo: Albin Lohr-Jones/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Now that a Texas judge has ruled that the entire Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional — all because of its individual mandate — Republicans may find themselves wishing for a different outcome.

The big picture: There is little hope of a deal with Democrats on health reform in a divided Congress if the decision is upheld. Democrats will now use the 2020 campaign to paint Republicans as threatening a host of popular provisions in the ACA. And here’s the kicker: protections for pre-existing conditions, the provision that played such a big role in the midterms, is not even the most popular one.

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