NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

MYTHS OF THE UNINSURED

September 14, 2004

Facts about the uninsured indicate that many are uninsured by choice, and few go without medical care, says Investor's Business Daily.

Although 45 million are counted as uninsured, that includes up to 14 million who are eligible for Medicaid or the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) but aren't enrolled, according to Devon Herrick of the National Center for Policy Analysis.

According to Sally Pipes of the Pacific Research Institute:

  • A fourth of the uninsured are unde 24, and half are under 35 years of age.
  • Three-quarters of the uninsured remain so for less than a year.
  • Americans without health insurance spend roughly the same amount of their own money on health care ($242) as do the fully insured ($211).
  • One in three uninsured live in housholds with incomes of more than $50,000, one in seven live in households with incomes above $75,000.

The proportion of the population without health insurance was 15.6 percent of the population in 2003, the same as in 1996. Many are uninsured because they are young, healthy and can get medical care without having to pay increasing insurance premiums. The uninsured who are hospitalized pay on average a mere 9 percent of the costs of their treatment.

The problem of the uninsured may already have been largely solved, says Investor's Business Daily, with the creation of Health Savings Accounts -- a provision of the Medicare reform bill. Tax-deductible HSAs combined with catastrophic health insurance coverage offer portability and ownership of health coverage -- at less cost.

Source: Editorial, "Doctoring the Truth About the Uninsured," Investor's Business Daily, September 14, 2004.

 

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