B.I.T.E. #7 — The Uninsured — “don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater”.

From the very beginning of the presidential campaign starting with the primary elections, we have been hearing about “the uninsured” of America. These two words have been used by both parties more than tax and spend or conservative and liberal. But we have yet to hear any discussion about who they are. What people are being included in this terminology “the uninsured”? During this entire debate on healthcare reform no one from the current administration has broken it down by the actual numbers.

Let’s take a look at the statistics that many people have never heard in regard to the uninsured. My point in sharing this is once again to arm everyone so you can effectively debate the healthcare reform issues at hand. Whenever we look at and study the statistics I am about to share, the more we are reminded of a phrase “don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.” In other words, do not scrap and throw away the entire private health insurance market that is currently working for between 85 and 90% of the entire American population. These figures are from the U.S. Census Bureau as well as the BCBSA Analysis and Congressional Budget Office. The most recent statistics available from the U.S. Census Bureau were from 2002. The total uninsured population in the US was 41,207,000 which at the time represented 14.6% of the total population. But here’s what we have not heard from any of the media since the presidential campaigns began. Of the 41,207,000 uninsured, 14,059,000 were eligible for government programs and never enrolled, another 13,059,000 uninsured earned more than $50,000 of annual income and chose not to purchase any health insurance even though they could have. Another 5,707,000 people were considered short-term uninsured which meant they were uninsured for less than two years, between jobs, recent college graduates or seasonal workers. This leaves 8,213,000 long-term uninsured individuals representing 2.91% of the total population. I don’t have a good answer as to why we have never heard the statistics before.

I encourage you to check out the link I have listed below for more detailed information about the uninsured in America, it is a resource provided by the Foundation for Health Coverage Education.      Coverage for all.org

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently scored the proposed public plan run by the government at over $1.6 trillion and there is even more spending in the bill that the CBO hasn’t even scored yet. The net decrease in uninsured after spending $1.6 trillion is only 16 million still leaving 30 million people uninsured!

We should be working on a solution to cover the 2.9% of our overall population that represents the actual long-term uninsured.

A public plan run by the government as a solution to cover the entire 47 million uninsured population is a formula that will destroy the private health insurance industry in just two short years says The Lewin Group. That is what I call “throwing out the baby with the bathwater”.

Matthew Berrafato
Elephant Hunter