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How many are really uninsured?

Politicians and the media often state that 47 million are uninsured, roughly 15 percent of people living in the U.S., but what are the numbers behind that statistic? Who are these people?
The Census Bureau points out that almost 10 million of those are illegal aliens. According to the same report there are 8.3 million uninsured who make between $50,000 and $75,000 per year. Many of these are the young and healthy who would rather spend $200 some odd dollars a month playing than paying for health coverage. Almost 9 million more make more than $75,000 per year.
If we count those that are transitioning between jobs, but that will have coverage in less than 4 months.. we may be able to discount a full 45 percent of the almost 20 million left.
Studies done by The Kaiser Family Foundation, a liberal non-profit founded to inform media and government on health issues... "puts the number of uninsured Americans who do not qualify for current government programs and make less than $50,000 a year between 13.9 million and 8.2 million. That is a much smaller figure than the media reports. Kaiser’s 8.2 million figure for the chronically uninsured only includes those uninsured for two years or more."
8.2 million represents about 2 percent of Americans. That said, I agree with President Obama that we are our brothers keeper.
It must be understood that Health Insurance is not the same as Health Care. Even illegals in this country have access to health care. There are free clinics where the poor and illegals can receive pre-natal care and have their cuts sewn up. Their babies are delivered in hospitals.. no questions asked. No one can be turned away from an Emergency Room.. it is against the law.
Crack babies born premature and in disastrous health will have a million dollars spent on their care before they even leave the hospital. Who pays for all of this?? We do. Americans are very generous. What do you think health care bills would be like if the hospitals didn't pass these costs on to every patient who is able to pay? Some of this type of health care is tax payer funded and much is passed along to the insured who are able to pay.. in other words us.
Much of that is OK with me because I want to be compassionate and good. But don't wreck the best, by far the best, health care system in the world over faulty statistics and political power grabs.
That said, there are many things that we could do to improve our current system. I like the ideas John Mackey wrote in a recent article for the WSJ.
Socialized medicine is a Trillion dollar gamble with poor odds since it has compromised the economies of almost every European nation and Canada. Let's take some time and think it out very carefully and then when our representatives come up with something, let's do our own thinking on it. Let's ask that actual reform not be buried in pork spending so we can barely find the bill.
If Americans tune into the fall television line up and stop watching their government, they may wake up in the spring to a lesser America.. one they don't even recognize.

A couple of articles to read on this topic.
Here Health Care Lie...


Alicia said...

Thanks for sharing this! I didn't know this!

marti said...

Good post. I do think we need to be very careful with how we change health care in our nation. But I also think that something has got to change. The current system is not sustainable.

One thing that I think is wrong with health care is the use of the emergency room as a catch-all for the under or non insured. If I'm going to have to pay for health care for illegals & the poor anyway, I'd rather pay for it in the form of regular (and cheaper) trips to the Doctors office. When people feel they can't afford to go to the Doctor & then put off getting health care until it is an emergency, we spend much more than we need to. Emergency rooms visits that could be prevented with regular routine care are the most expensive & wasteful use of our health care dollars. For example, an uninsured poor diabetic who can't afford his medications (or even an insured person who can't afford his $50 copays!) & is in and out of the emergency room for his whole life costs the whole nation a bundle. If we paid for his medications & trips to the doctor up front we would save so much money. This is just one of many problems with the current system. There are no easy answers out there. I don't have any solutions. I just think something has to change. I don't know how exactly, but something has to change.

love.boxes said...

I agree with your comment Marti. My point in talking about the care Americans already pay for (Emergency rooms incuded) is to point out that we currently pay quite a lot for healthcare for the indigent and illegals. Some folks don't understand that.
On another point.. I have an HSA.. I really think they may be part of the answer for a lot of Americans. We sure love the control it gives us over our own healthcare and the ability to save for costlier things down the road.

Raquel said...

This is a very great topic to discuss, because it is important and on the forefront of the political agenda these days. Thank you for posting it. I have been in the process of discussing this with my friends and family.

marti said...

HSA's are wonderful. We love ours too. I think they are great for the middle & upper class who can afford to save some extra pennies for future health care. But I don't believe they help those who can barely make ends meet as it is. They don't have the extra cash to be saving for future health care.

Yesterday at the pharmacy a mother asked me a question about her one year old. I told her she should contact her pediatrician. Her response was that she was between insurance right now & couldn't afford it. I think the number of people who are in that situation is completely ridiculous. You shouldn't have to worry about health care because you recently lost your job. Not in the United States anyway.

The other thing that boils my blood is when someone loses health care, and gets some sort of catastrophic disease before the new insurance is in effect. The new insurance will claim that the disease is a pre-existing condition & refuse to cover that patient. It's so unethical. It's crazy to me that we let stuff like that happen in the most wonderful nation on earth. Or take my neighbors. They're little 2 year old was having trouble breathing. They took him to the Doctor. Turns out he has a hole in his diaphragm. He had surgery to repair it & was in the hospital for 2 weeks recovering. They have insurance. They have to pay 10%. That doesn't sound bad until you realize the hospital bill is about $500,000. Who has $50,000 lying around to pay for that sort of thing? It's absolutely crazy.

Sorry for being so long winded. I just think the current state of our health care is horrid. And it makes me angry to see people suffer when it shouldn't have to be that way. Thanks for bringing up this topic - I'm too chicken to bring controversial things to the table! :)

Raquel said...

Marti, you have a good perspective too, because of your line of work, it sounds like.
Thank you for your insight. My company is moving to HSAs right now and I'm quite interested to see how it will go. But you are right this works for middle and upper class who can afford to set aside money. Most of the country is not in that situation - most live paycheck to paycheck and can't afford 1 more expense.

Its a sticky situation.

Jacquelyn Sherry said...

Thanks for posting this!