Access to Health Care and Satisfaction: Differences by Insurance Coverage and Insurance Type—The availability of health insurance allows individuals to avoid unnecessary pain and suffering and improves the quality of life. Studies have shown that insured individuals have a higher probability of receiving basic health care services than the uninsured. Individuals without health insurance have been shown to be more likely to delay treatment and not seek preventive health care, postponing it until an emergency occurs, requiring a higher and more expensive level of care. Currently, access to health care has become an important issue for individuals with health insurance coverage. Recent data indicate that 85 percent of workers are enrolled in managed care plans. An increasing number of media stories have focused on anecdotal evidence that managed care organizations are denying care to enrollees, resulting in a negative portrayal of managed care. However, it can be argued that the debate needs to move beyond the anecdotes and start considering nationally representative data.
Keeping Track of Social Security Reform Proposals: An Update—This article describes several Social Security reform proposals Congress introduced during 1997 and 1998. It updates the summary of reform packages introduced during 1994 to 1996 that was published in the November 1996 issue of EBRI Notes. This article includes a point-by-point table summarizing comprehensive reform packages proposed by Reps. John Edward Porter (R-IL), Mark Sanford (R-SC), Nick Smith (R-MI), and the Committee for Economic Development (CED). The text also briefly describes a number of the more incremental legislative proposals advanced in 1997 and 1998.
A plethora of newspaper articles, as well as the President's State of the Union remarks, ensure that Social Security reform will continue to move toward the forefront of Washington's social policy agenda. As the debate heats up over how to address the system's long-term financial issues, and as additional proposals to alter other aspects of the current program are advanced, the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) will continue to provide information and analysis to facilitate understanding of these policy issues.