• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Understanding the Uninsured Numbers

    We all know health care coverage in the United States is a dire issue — especially since most health insurance is workplace-based and people who have lost jobs have few options to affordable and portable coverage. But as Heritage analyst Robert Moffit recently noted, it’s important to understand the real numbers of the uninsured.

    Families USA, a liberal health advocacy group in Washington, recently commissioned the Lewin Group to analyze data from the U.S. Census Bureau to determine how many Americans were uninsured for an unspecified time within the time frame of 2007 through 2008. Families USA then used the numbers to claim that Census Bureau was underestimating the number of uninsured. Responding to Families USA claims, Moffit told the Des Moines Register: “The number of people who are persistently or chronically uninsured is relatively small.”

    Moffit said many people lose insurance temporarily while they change jobs, but quickly regain it. That pattern has increased over time, as people began switching employers more frequently, he said.

    The solution to this issue is to make the health insurance market more stable by changing tax laws to encourage Americans to buy their own insurance. Moffit explains in MedCity News:

    Let’s tie health insurance to the person rather than the job … Rather than push for a nationalized health system or even a public health insurance plan that could crowd out the private insurance market, Americans should have the opportunity to own and control their health insurance.

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    15 Responses to Understanding the Uninsured Numbers

    1. Scott, Arroyo Grande says:

      So because the uninsured number is so small we can easily insure everyone?

      Why are these type of articles published?

      Who in the hell are these Progressive Past rejects, most working Americans have their own insurance and 85% of them are smart enough to plan ahead with their insurance companies and are very happy with the results. Fact, the small percentage of workers that can afford insurance do not get it anyway, they pay as they go and are happy with it.

      Fact; the poor are covered by Federal Law and use it happily because they do not have insurance. It is the Progressives of the world that live in the past, look to Europe where this ideology started and those Progressives are burning the cities, why……nobody with money to tax..they are bankrupt. We are bankrupt America..tell the Progressives to pound sand.

    2. Ken, California says:

      Sarah Rubenstein in the WSJ 14 April has a short article on a new approach to health insurance/provision that's interesting. But it ends by posing the dilemma of the HIV patient whose gone through all his plan's money already and now is being shut off from further treatment unless he pays out of pocket.

      As I grow older I have found myself reconciled to the eventuality of death and toying with the fact that when I think about the good things I have done or left behind, I'm not so worried about that fate.

      A number of years ago in California a woman in a local public elected office started a campaign that ended with children being required to wear helmets whenever they got on a bicycle. Our own kids were more attentive to the need to have a helmet on than any other extraordinary compliance we tried to influence. Nowadays it's common place to see kids wearing their helmets while skateboarding, or even keep it on during other out doors activities. I've made a sick joke that they are likely to have their helmet on while sniffing glue or other "substances" — or doing other things with their friends. Yes, it's kind of sick. But ……

      Meanwhile it's also not uncommon to see their adult counterparts fly through intersections against traffic signals or make turns without giving warnings to drives. And those kids, they're riding down the street against traffic, texting as they go. I'd call that risky. But they feel protected and their parents have put that helmet on so….

      Everybody is satisfied in thinking that the helmet will protect them.

      Life has risk, some of which comes with the living of it. We cannot afford nor should we pretend that the results of risky behavior will be without consequences. And for some that will mean an early death. With or without insurance.

    3. Jason, Tenafly, NJ says:

      here's a brilliant idea that the rocket scientist liberals have missed completely. Instead of nationalized health coverage, how about we remove the 7.5% of adjusted gross income floor that presently exists. how's that for smart, I should work for the government!

    4. Gary, Austin TX says:

      In response to Scott, Arroyo Grande, CA

      Unfortunately Scott the people who work for small business’s or are entrepreneur’s and service industry type (bartender, waitstaff , valet, consieur, limo drivers etc) Do not get covered by employers or are extremely underinsured because the system is broke. Also as a side note, to be on Medicaid you have to be really broke if you work 25 hrs a week with a EIC and make 7.50 an hour you may not qualify for Medicaid. Secondly by making the working class that are under or not insured pay more for cash pay rates at hospitals and then give away healthcare for poor families is facilitating the problem and sending the wrong message to people everywhere. I work with moms everyday that are screwed by insurance co. when it comes to pregnancy and the preexisting claus then since they work they cant get gvt help so unless they cough up 10,000 dollars they probably cant have a child. What is the statistic every minute an American family declares bankruptcy due to hospital cost. I also believe the problem is medical malpractice lawsuits that lead to huge insurance premiums which lead to our own huge insurance premiums. Now lets add in salaried paper monkey’s who do nothing but check and recheck thousands of forms and you have a system bogged down by sue happy folks and bureaucratic processes and how the GVT being involved would even begin to help by what adding more bureaucratic paper monkeys and people still being sue happy confuses me. The entire system is sick and it needs and overhaul and GVT is not the answer unless you like going to the USPS office better than UPS or Fedex, enjoyed the iphone lines, ps3 lines or maybe, xbox360 lines then perhaps GVT is for you.

    5. LARRY, LOCKHART, TEX says:

      This is an interesting article but it just focuses on insurance as the key to health care. The culprit in the health care system debate is the relationship between charges and reimbursement. Health care providers such as hospitals establish charges which are 500 to 900% greater than the reimbursement they will receive from the government ( medicare or medicaid ) or insurance companies. The best deal an uninsured person can get is a 50 % discount. Thus they are still paying 250 to 450 % more than the provider is getting from the above payment sources. This is making health care inordinately expensive for the "uninsured."

      The government created a lot of this problem when they froze payment levels to providers in the late 1970's. The providers then started raising their charges when ever allowed. This led to the problem we have in the marked difference between charges and reimbursement.

      I would like to see organizations focus on these issues. Until medicare poured money into the system health care was a service often provided by city – county hospital or religions hospitals. Now most care form hospitals comes from for profit corporations. Health care is no longer a service or mission it is big business.

    6. Normca says:

      Its like "eat your spinach – its good for you" There are people who can afford any type of insurance and will not buy it. Why must this country force it upon an unwilling participant? I pay $700 a month because I chose to. It should be voluntary and our former president had it right – for those who select to buy health insurance, give them [or us] a tax break. Leave those who do not buy insurance [or eat their spinach the heck alone.

    7. FG Jones MD says:

      I am a physician retired from fee for service practice and in my 26th year of volunteering in free clinic for the indigent. Most are working at minimalor low wages, not eligible for Medicaid and have no job related insurance options. In the clinic where I work most have chronic diseases-diabetes, hypertension, etc. If we do not care for them, the complications of their disease will wreck havoc with their ability to work and magnify enormously the ultimate costs of medical care for whoever is burdened with that cost. Lets hear about solutions for these prople so next Tuesday evening I can tell my 15-20 diabetic patients that we now have a solution for them.

    8. Mark Texas says:

      What I see on a day to day basis, is that most uninsured dont want to pay for insurance. There are plans that can handle most health issues affordably,aids(no) are HIPPA qualified,check-ups,preventative,hospital, etc. They want everything paid for by insurance, but dont want to pay a resonable amount for it. I see newer vehicles in their drvieways, big screen TV's, and other things, but dont take the responsiblilty for their own health care. Medicaid pays for it, or the county hospital, or they say they are healthy now and dont see the need to pay. See southern CA hospitals. What is car insurance for? In case something happens! same concept.

      Let the marketwork, NOT more Govt regs.

    9. Donna, northeast Geo says:

      How can we ever get the "real" numbers…how many are financially capable of purchasing insurance, either independently or through their employer; how many simply opt out, because they think they don't need it, i.e., young people?

      I KNOW the numbers touted by the media are totally skewed, but how will the public ever know the truth?

      My understanding of the beginning of the downfall of health care in this country began with Medicare. All of a sudden, we had the government "fixing prices," and that was the beginning of the slippery slope we're on now. Say what you will, Americans are smart people; and we would have figured out an appropriate give and take between consumers and providers if the government had just not tried to "fix" things.

    10. Joan Blackmon, Mecha says:

      I have always felt that most of the problem with escalating costs of health care was due to employer supplied health insurance, where the patient didn't need to know what each medical service actually cost and had no idea what his insurance policy actually cost, either. If the patient had incentives to pay attention to the cost of services, he would be more circumspect in his use of them.

    11. charles, wyoming.usa says:

      we've been lured into a false sense of security by the choosen few (electees) who told us to be good americans and let them take care of us. well, we got what WE deserved. don't like it, take back your rights, be responsible for yourself, set your family up, and don't depend on anyone else but GOD to save you.

    12. Lynn B. DeSpain says:

      There are three basic reasons why medical costs, incuding medicine is so high.

      1. Litigation, meaning lawyers, meaning we need to place caps on malpractice suits!

      2. Illegal Aliens sucking the welfare medical systems dry! The Federal Laws need to be enforced and these people need to be sent back!

      3. Second, third, forth and fifth generation Welfare Recipients, to Institutionalized to get out of the "System." Welfare for Children Only!

      Sometimes it is hard to be hard, but that time is now!


    13. Ross, Bradenton, Flo says:

      I have never understood why the government is in the "healthcare" business anyhow. The only reasonable exception being taking care of military personal by military medical staffs. But healthcare of all citizens? Makes not sense. I had much rather have the Feds buy me a new Rolls Royce to replace my 15 year old Ford Ranger. After all, I'm an American, aren't I entitled to the best from the Feds. The car is practical(sic). But alas they don't and I buy what I can afford. So it should be for healthcare. Like the Feds,"ambulance chasers" have devastated the healthcare industry, but that's another chapter in the demantling of the American citizen's liberty in the name of equality.

    14. Juli Kemp says:

      Enough with the liberal hype about the un-insured! Government involment in health care started all the problems, and more of it will only exacerbate them. Government, you started all this, so stay out of it and perhaps we have a chance of getting back to where healthcare was between doctor and patient. Government ruined it and Government can only fix it by getting out!

    15. Save the Limo Driver says:

      Limo Divers Protest Medicare Mediciad Reform Cuts, It's rumored this issue could become part of the Tea Party movement. AmeriChoice Health also rumored to take a position on this issue. Recirculate those tax dollars? Help keep limo drivers working, benefits flowing and overpaid tax dollars remain in abuse.

      Medicare.gov as well as other Federal agency's encourage you to report any fraudulent activities, yet, the same government agency's were notified the way this company does business yet did nothing. Three years ago they were reported to these Federal agency's and as of todays date not only were they allowed to continue doing business but were never charged once. Protected vendor status sure, politics sure, limited government budgets sure, Federal and State officals looking the other way sure, and rather then stop these activities a strong desire not to rock the boat previals. Even with the vast changes in the laws, budgets,a hands off policy remains, you tell me what's wrong with this picture?

      The Government created this monster and now they don't know what to do about it, like shooting yourself in your own foot etc. Tons of money to advance their national growth, it's market positions, tons of money for political donations, tons of money to send 75 millIon back to its home office from New York state alone, tons of money to suppot National TV shows, tons of money to pay hugh State fines, tons of money to hire the very best law firms, tons of money to pay for bribes and kickbacks, tons of money for hugh salary's and bonuses, all done on the back of the American tax payor, you see this company receives all it's money from the Federal government. Should your tax dollars be held to a higher standard? Should our government agency's responsible for there review and be held to that same standard? Should the IRS audit their corruption? Why has this company not been charged? How long can the buck be passed here in more ways then one?

      Hey, it's your tax dollars don't complain now.. then don't complain later on…

      ps… I know times are tough for a lot us, but it would be great to have a free limo to go to the Doctors, Pharmacy, Movies, Grocery shopping, and given free tickets for the movies. Offered soda, pop corn and hotdogs, as well as have them receive free coupons for Grocery items…Kind of makes you wish qualified for Medicare and Mediciad right?

      For three years now, a woman has left her home in Poughkeepsie, New York, five days a week and taken a taxi to visit her child at St. Margaret’s Center, a nursing home for disabled children in Albany, New York. Each night, she rides home by taxi. That costs $300 a day. What dedication by taxpayers. That is right. Taxpayers have shelled out $196,000 over the past three years so that she can make this Poughkeepsie-Albany commute each day. Incredibly, state health officials defended this daily abuse of taxpayers. Could not the woman move to Albany? It would have been cheaper to buy her a Cadillac Escalade and have her drive herself. But under Medicaid’s incomprehensibly illogical rules, taxpayers had to give this woman a whopping $65,000 subsidy. We underpay doctors by 20% or more. But one — likely two — cab drivers have a gravy train going there. For New York state, the bill comes to $98,000 — with federal taxpayers shelling out another $98,000.

      Oh and this happens all over the place. Ambulances in Southern West Virginia became taxis as they shuttled people off to the drug store and the like — and then billed Medicaid. New York state Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli said the $196,000 taxi drive was part of at least $169 million in misspent funds. “We found the state Medicaid system is leaking millions of dollars,” DiNapoli told the Albany Times-Union. “Safeguards designed to protect the taxpayers by detecting waste, fraud and abuse keep failing.” Taxpayers finance $196,000 ride By CATHLEEN F. CROWLEY Staff Writer Published: 01:00 a.m., Wednesday, December 23, 2009

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.