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The Truth About Health Insurance

John on July 20, 2007 at 11:31 pm

Whenever the left is pushing a big initiative they come up with a big number to support it. Often it’s only much later, after they’ve gotten what they wanted via the media, that we discover the numbers were off by a factor of 2 or 3.

Remember back in the early 90′s how often we used to hear about gays being 10% of the population. “One in ten” was a gay mantra for years. Turns out less than 3% of Americans are gay. But hey, it’s not a lie if it serves the cause, whatever that may be at the moment.

In a similar vein, one of the figures used by Moore in his new film is a figure of the total number of uninsured Americans. Moore and others on the left have this pegged at 47 million. I’ve heard this number repeatedly as most of you probably have. Well today I came across this excellent summary of how this number is grossly overinflated and, surprise, completely misleading:

The Census Bureau report “Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2005,” puts the initial number of uninsured people living in the country at 46.577 million.

A closer look at that report reveals the Census data include 9.487 million people who are “not a citizen.” Subtracting the 10 million non-Americans, the number of uninsured Americans falls to roughly 37 million.


Many of the same people pushing the incorrect numbers of uninsured Americans also claim that these people cannot “afford” insurance.

“And when you’ve got 47 million people in this country with no health insurance, they don’t go to the doctor because they can’t afford it,” Moore said on CNN’s “Larry King Live” July 10.

Katie Couric echoed those sentiment on the CBS “Evening News” May 23. “The number of Americans with no health insurance is continuing to grow as more and more employers say they can’t afford to offer group insurance People who try to buy insurance on their own often find the price beyond their reach,” said Couric as she introduced a two-part “investigation of the health insurance industry.”

But according to the same Census report, there are 8.3 million uninsured people who make between $50,000 and $74,999 per year and 8.74 million who make more than $75,000 a year. That’s roughly 17 million people who ought to be able to “afford” health insurance because they make substantially more than the median household income of $46,326.

Subtracting non-citizens and those who can afford their own insurance but choose not to purchase it, about 20 million people are left – less than 7 percent of the population.


So what is the true extent of the uninsured “crisis?” The Kaiser Family Foundation, a liberal non-profit frequently quoted by the media, 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 report.

Kaiser’s 8.2 million figure for the chronically uninsured only includes those uninsured for two years or more. It is also worth noting, that, 45 percent of uninsured people will be uninsured for less than four months according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Thank goodness Michael Moore’s Sicko is failing to do anywhere near the business his last film did. Still, a lie is a lie. 8.2 million is quite a lot of uninsured people, enough to convince me we have reason for concern. But Moore’s (and Hillary’s) repetition of 47 million is nothing short of dishonest demagoguery.

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Category: Politics |

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