Focus Point - Explaining the Uninsured

Commentary by Pete du Pont

I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. Today and tomorrow, major questions for the new congress.

Today, the uninsured -- all 42 million of them. Big numbers like that make politicians create big government bureaucracies to "help."

But as the NCPA's John Goodman says, the critical number isn't the total uninsured; rather, since the numbers change constantly as people buy, lose or give up their insurance, the relevant number is those who are uninsured for longer than a year. And that's more like 20 million.

Then, the variety of reasons people lack insurance makes reducing their number through government programs difficult. Over the past two years, the most growth among uninsureds is in those making more than $50,000 a year -- and more than half of them make $80,000.

Low income people get neither quicker nor better care from government programs. And millions of uninsureds are young and healthy who think their families don't need to pay for insurance -- because there's always the emergency room.

The situation calls for thought and flexibility -- not the billion dollar Federal Sledgehammer.

Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont. Next time, Shrinking Government.