UPDATE: Ed Morrissey keeps punching.
47 Million Uninsured? More Like 6 Million
…that can’t afford coverage of any kind. And want it. And need it.
Senator James Risch of Idaho has done some research on that much-bandied-about 47 million number and has broken it down into several categories, which can best be described as the “Deserving” and the “Undeserving”.
In the “Undeserving” category we find such people as illegal aliens, those making over $75,000, those eligible for existing government-sponsored programs, and those who have access to insurance through their employers but choose not to insure themselves or their families.
In the “Deserving” category, we have those who are classified as “without any affordable options”. Want to guess how many there are? Approximately 12 million people. According to Sen. Risch, only about one quarter of those 47 million uninsured folks really have no other recourse. All the others have options available, whether employer-sponsored or government subsidized. Then there are those who can well-afford insurance but simply choose not to be insured.
But others are taking it even farther, and I must agree with Dave at Classical Values, who puts the actual figure at closer to 6 million people:
So what we actually have is about 12 million American citizens of income less than $75K who have no access to insurance or government programs. That’s about 4% of the population. Many of those are young, healthy people who don’t particularly need insurance, and those at incomes of $40-$50K or above can probably afford to borrow and repay medical bills over time; half seems a reasonable estimate of the two combined. So we have 2% of the country that really has a need for this reform. Some “truly risky — truly scary” crisis.
And if that seems flippant or uncaring, well, as it happens, I am one of those uninsured people in that last piece of pie: I was laid off last year, my income this year is less than $75,000, and I am not carrying insurance. And I don’t want it if it comes at the price of a gigantic socialization of the health sector that will cost taxpayers trillions, stifle innovation, slow our economic growth, and may lead to government controlling a significant percentage of the economy.
It seems our government is prepared to spend upwards of $1.6 trillion of our tax dollars to make sure that all of those 47 million about whom they are so worried get coverage, whether they can afford it or not, whether they want it or not. This breaks down to approximately $34,000 per person. But according to Sen. Risch’s chart there are really only about 12 million who lack coverage; and if we accept Dave’s idea that about half of those can afford it but just don’t want or need it, we’re back down to that 6 million figure.
While we’re at it, let’s be generous and stipulate that it really will cost $34,000 per person for their coverage. (Riiight.)
If we accept that there are 6 million Americans who desperately need and want this coverage but can’t afford it (and have no access to health care of any kind), then let’s spend the $34,000 on each of them, for a total of $200 billion or just about 13% of the proposed bill.
Even I can live with that.
And in the meantime, dear President Obama, dear Speaker Pelosi, and dear Sen. Reid, please address tort reform so that doctors can actually afford to practice real medicine without having to pay crippling amounts for malpractice insurance; and so that health insurance for everyone will actually be affordable. For everyone.
K THX BAI.