Q. Why has the need for health insurance reform increased so dramatically?
A. The rise in unemployment accounts for much of the recent increase. Almost 67 percent of Virginians were covered by their employer in 2006, according to the United States Census Bureau. By 2007 — before the recession began — the percentage fell to less than 62 percent of the state population.
But Virginians have also encountered an increasingly challenging health care environment overall in recent years.
• According to a Families USA estimate of the Medical Expenditures Panel Survey data, premiums for family coverage in Virginia have increased by more than 80 percent since 2000, and by about 65 percent for individual health insurance.
• Virginia, according to a report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is one of five states where the percentage of working-age adults with private health insurance has dropped 10 percent or more during the past 15 years.
• According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, Virginia ranks 49th among all states and the District of Columbia in Medicaid coverage of low-income adults.
• The uninsured spend approximately $100 billion annually on health care, much of it expensive, uncompensated emergency room care, according to the National Academy of Science.