New Report Shows Growth of Uninsured may be by Choice
October 07, 2003
A new report by the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA), the nation's leading think tank on health policy issues, examines an important and significant fact regarding the new Census Bureau numbers that showed an increase in the number of uninsured. Most of the increase in the uninsured comes from middle- and upper-income households. The report can be viewed online at http://www.ncpa.org/pub/ba460/.
Among the report's findings:
- Households that earn $50,000 per year or more account for about three-fourths of the increase in the number of uninsured over the past 4 years. And about half of that has occurred among households earning more than $75,000 per year.
- Since 1993, the number of uninsured in households with annual incomes above $75,000 increased 114 percent. By contrast, the number of uninsured with annual incomes below $25,000 fell by 17 percent.
- About one-third of the uninsured now live in households that earn more than $75,000 per year.
The NCPA report, authored by NCPA Senior Fellow Devon Herrick, Ph.D., concludes that being uninsured in America is often a matter of choice. NCPA research shows that most uninsured people either can afford health insurance or qualify for government-sponsored health care programs (CHIPs or Medicaid); they just choose not to enroll.