Human Exceptionalism

Obamacare: Are 50 million–Americans Really Unable to Get Health Insurance? Nope. Closer to 12 Million

A timely article over at the Weekly Standard by Jeffrey H. Anderson just caught my eye.  Apparently the Kaiser Foundation is claiming that 50 million Americans don’t have health insurance, based on census figures.  From “The Real Number of Uninsured Americans:”

The Kaiser Foundation report…bases its findings of 50 million uninsured Americans (under the age of 65) on the Current Population Survey’s Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS ASEC), published by the Census Bureau. Kaiser describes the CPS ASEC as “the primary source of annual health insurance coverage information in the United States” and as “the most frequently cited national survey on health insurance coverage.”

But the Kaiser report apparently used selective reporting, resulting in uninsured inflation.  According to Anderson, the real figure of people who need health insurance but cant’ get it, is closer to 12 million.

Here’s how he gets there.  First, the 50 million figure leaves out Medicaid beneficiaries–which the census puts at nearly 17%–people who don’t qualify as uninsured any more than do Medicare beneficiaries:

Any private citizen can do the math from there, which the Census has done as well: 16.9 percent of the 47.8 million people on Medicaid is 8.1 million. So more than 8 million of the 50 million “uninsured” are people who aren’t actually uninsured at all, but instead are on Medicaid.

That leaves about 42 million without insurance.  But about a quarter of these are not American citizens (usually meaning, illegal aliens):

That leaves us with approximately 42 million uninsured, according to the Census’s correction of its own survey figures (a correction that Kaiser doesn’t make). Of these, according to the same report, 10 million aren’t citizens. That leaves us with 32 million uninsured Americans — a far cry from 50 million, but apparently close enough for government (or Kaiser) work.

Okay, now we’re down to 32 million, more than 1/3 less than the original figure.  How do we subtract another 20 million?  These are people who could afford some form of private insurance but don’t buy it:

Are these 32 million uninsured Americans languishing in Dickensian squalor, as the advocates of Obamacare would lead us to believe?  Far from it. The Census states (in Table 9 of the CPS ASEC report) that approximately 11 million of those who are uninsured live in households that make over $75,000, while another 9 million (giving us 20 million total) live in households that make more than what the same report shows (in Figure 1, on p. 6) to be the median American household income of $49,777 annually.

And that doesn’t mean these people don’t get care.  Anderson provides the stats for anyone interested in going deeper into the article than I can here.  He then notes:

Perhaps this is why, as a recent Gallup poll shows, nearly 60 percent of those who are uninsured and make between $30,000 and $74,999 rate their health care as “excellent” or “good” — despite not having health insurance.

That could just mean they haven’t had anything go seriously wrong, or it could mean they have access to good care, such as in community medical centers.  But there are people who make less and are unhappy with their health care:

Regardless, even the Census’s CPS ASEC report shows that the number of uninsured Americans is 32 million (not 50 million). It also shows that almost half of these 32 million make more money than most Americans. And Gallup shows that nearly 20 million of these 32 million say they are already happy with their health care. That leaves something on the order of 12 million Americans who are uninsured and unhappy with their health care — less than 5 percent of the citizenry.

Obamacare cynically used the 12 million–who can and should be helped–to grab power for the government over 1/6 of the economy–which is also being used as a tool to gain control over our lives in the name of “wellness” and reducing health care costs.  Inflating the number of people who can’t get insurance serves that purpose.

Good on Anderson for letting us see a more accurate view of the problem–although he probably errs on the low side, considering that the uninsured happy with their care could easily become  unhappy if a serious condition arose. As the effort to defang Obamacare moves forward, those who can’t get insurance have to be kept in mind so that we don’t go back to an unacceptable pre-Obamacare status quo.

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