We got good news this week. Fewer Americans are living in poverty. The level fell to 11.8 percent, the lowest since 2001, and household incomes rose to the highest level on record.

But we also got some bad news. For the first time in a decade, the number of people with health insurance declined. According to the Census Bureau, 8.5 percent of those in the nation lacked health coverage, up from 7.9 percent a year earlier.

There are two possible explanations, the most immediate the administration’s efforts to fight the Affordable Care Act, best known as Obamacare. But another possibility came up in some stories. As a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, Stephanie Armour, noted, “It's surprising to see that the number of people with health insurance from employers didn't jump in 2018 despite the strong economy and tight labor markets. That could mean more jobs are coming without health coverage.”

That provides a perfect introduction to another story from this week, the news from Sacramento that California soon will make it harder for companies like Uber and Lyft to say their workers are independent contractors and not employees.

That legislation will be challenged in court and might be put to voters in a statewide referendum. Because California often is the place where such crusades start, everybody will be watching closely.

The question on the ballot would be on the law itself and already Uber and others are saying that they do not believe that it will affect their workers. The question we all should be talking about is the bigger one — who wins in the gig economy?

Companies like Uber say they provide necessary flexibility that fits modern lifestyles, allowing people to be their own bosses and set their own schedules. Those who urged legislators to pass this law see something else, companies that make more money by avoiding the obligations that come with having employees, obligations such as health insurance.

These ride-hailing companies are not alone in wanting to avoid taking on more responsibilities for the people who do their work. Amazon is moving away from its reliance on UPS, FedEx and the Postal Service, creating its own core of drivers who have to deliver what the company tells them to on schedules the company determines but who are not employees.

This arrangement raises all of the familiar issues about employee status being discussed in California along with another — liability. As The New York Times and ProPublica reported earlier this month, people injured or killed in accidents involving those drivers cannot go after Amazon, which is shielded from such actions because it legally is not the employer of those drivers.

In one sense this is the old question about the duck. If it looks like one and quacks like one, how could it not be one?

It also raises the question of responsibility. If we want two-day delivery and cheap trips to the airport, are we supporting a system that makes it harder for people to get health care, among other ills of the gig economy?

I know if I were younger, I would prefer a salary and benefits over the opportunity to be my own boss with the constant hustle and uncertainty.

California is having that discussion now. New York needs to as well.