NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


February 16, 2007

We hear it over and over: 46 million people uninsured -- a number meant to convey the urgent need for universal health care.  On closer examination, however, the problem of the uninsured doesn't look so frightening, and the need for a massive government program to cover every American begins to look like overkill, says Investor's Business Daily.


  • The 46.6 million uninsured statistic is misleading, it makes it seem like there are that many who simply can't get coverage; a Congressional Budget Office report found that 45 percent were uninsured for four months or less -- just 29 percent lacked coverage for more than a year.
  • Over the past 20 years, the number of uninsured counted by the Census Bureau has steadily increased, but so has the population -- the overall uninsured rate has essentially been flat since 1987, and the latest figure, 15.9 percent, is lower than it was during the Clinton years.
  • An Employee Benefits Research Institute study found that immigrants accounted for 86 percent of the growth in the uninsured population between 1998 and 2003; as a result, immigrants now make up more than 26 percent of the uninsured, compared with 19 percent in 1994.


  • According to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation study, businesses are not dropping coverage; rather, workers are shifting towards smaller companies or self-employment, where coverage is often not available.
  • Evidence shows that a large portion of the uninsured population could get coverage if they wanted it; the Census report notes that nearly 40 percent of the uninsured are young, under age 34.
  • In addition, a report from the National Center for Policy Analysis reports that about 14 million uninsured adults and children are eligible for government coverage.

Source: Editorial, "Uninsured And Overinflated," Investor's Business Daily, February 16, 2007.

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