NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


May 3, 2007

Two years after Maine set out to cover its uninsured, fewer than 15 percent of those who were thought to be eligible had signed up.  Did the state overestimate the number of uninsured?

  • The New York Times has reported that Maine officials wanted to provide universal health care to its estimated 130,000 uninsured residents by 2009.
  • They figured that by the end of 2005, the first year the program was in effect, 31,000 would be on the rolls.
  • But now, here we are nearly in the middle of 2007 and a mere 18,800 people have signed up -- and some of those were already insured.

Dead-end supporters of a socialist health care system will say that the high cost of premiums in the Maine plan, not an overcount, has kept the rolls thin, says Investor's Business Daily (IBD).  Massachusetts' experience, though, argues against them:

  • The Census Bureau said that 10.7 percent of the Bay State's population is uninsured.
  • When the state made its own count, it found the number closer to 7 percent.

"I think when we first started, in terms of making estimates, we really were kind of groping in the dark," Maine Gov. John Baldacci told the New York Times.

With facts forcing him to look for some light, Baldacci has proposed making adjustments to the estimates.  The alarmists who howl about America's health care "crisis" would be wise to do the same.  Their inflated estimates aren't based in reality, says IBD.

Source: Editorial, "Counting On A Crisis," Investor's Business Daily, May 3, 2007.


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