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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Employer-based health insurance isn’t a monolith — the cost and generosity of that coverage varies widely. And that likely affects how open workers would be to “Medicare for All” or a public insurance option.

The big picture: Democrats’ health care plans would offer a better deal to many low-wage workers than to their higher-wage counterparts.

By the numbers: The Kaiser Family Foundation’s annual survey of employer health benefits illustrates this divide.

  • Roughly 36 million American workers earn $25,000 per year or less — retail workers, personal care attendants, warehouse workers and many more.
  • Just 33% of workers at lower-wage firms offering health benefits are covered by their employer’s health benefits, well below the 63% share at other firms offering coverage.
  • These low-wage workers pay an average of $7,000 per year just toward the premium for a family plan.
  • Workers in low-wage firms also face much higher deductibles: a $2,679 annual single deductible, while at other firms, the average is $1,610.

The bottom line: There is no way to gild this lily — that is the definition of unaffordable. And family coverage isn’t even available to these workers much of the time.

  • Whether low-wage workers ultimately support Democrats’ health care plans is still a matter of personal preference — whether resistance to change or distrust in the government outweigh the financial burdens of health insurance.
  • But either “Medicare for All” or a public option would offer much better coverage than these workers have now.

On the other end of the spectrum are workers with very good coverage — including those with union-negotiated contracts and even, at some higher-wage firms, workers who don’t have to make a premium contribution at all.

  • But as study after study documents, these workers also struggle with their out-of-pocket costs, especially when they or their family members become ill.

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Capitol review panel recommends more police, mobile fencing

Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

A panel appointed by Congress to review security measures at the Capitol is recommending several changes, including mobile fencing and a bigger Capitol police force, to safeguard the area after a riotous mob breached the building on Jan. 6.

Why it matters: Law enforcement officials have warned there could be new plots to attack the area and target lawmakers, including during a speech President Biden is expected to give to a joint session of Congress.

CDC says fully vaccinated people can take fewer precautions

Photo: Filip Filipovic/Getty Images

People who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can take fewer precautions in certain situations, including socializing indoors without masks when in the company of low-risk or other vaccinated individuals, according to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Monday.

Why it matters: Per the report, there's early evidence that suggests vaccinated people are less likely to have asymptomatic infection and are potentially less likely to transmit the virus to other people. At the time of its publication, the CDC said the guidance would apply to about 10% of Americans.