Sunday, January 21, 2007

Rosen: No 'crisis' of uninsured Rosen: No 'crisis' of uninsured

Mike Rosen points out in the RMN that there is No 'crisis' of uninsured. He makes a lot of good points. For example, the usual way of counting uninsured includes anyone who was uninsured for even one minute during a given year.
The ploy is to pretend that a rotating aggregate or a snapshot is the same thing as a permanent population. Fifty-nine million is the aggregate number of those who at some time during the year, even if only for a day, were without health insurance. This is a meaningless statistic.

Forty-six million is the snapshot figure, the average number who have no insurance on a given day. To see how misleading this can be, consider this: At any time perhaps 50 million Americans have a head cold. And during the course of a year, probably 300 million Americans will have a cold at one time or another. This is hardly the same thing as saying that 300 million Americans have a permanent head cold.
So, if we look at the snapshot:
The uninsured can include those between jobs or students just out of school. The Census Bureau estimates that the average family that loses its health insurance will be reinsured within 5 1/2 months; 75 percent will be reinsured within one year. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that between 21 million and 31 million Americans may be uninsured for the entire year, including about 12 million foreign-born residents many of whom are here illegally.
Yes, between 1/3 and 1/2 of those uninsured for the entire year are aliens, many (IMHO most) illegal. Just as importantly:
The largest group, 42 percent, of longer-term uninsured, about 19 million, are between the ages of 18 and 34. Most are healthy and could afford health insurance but choose to gamble, opting to run the risk of going uninsured rather than forgoing current consumption. This is motivated in part by the ease of acquiring government-regulated health insurance after becoming ill or obtaining free treatment at a hospital emergency room if unable to pay.
So, the bulk of the hardcoare uninsured are either aliens, primarily illegal, or young adults, primarily male, the later believing themselves invincible, and thus chosing to spend their insurance money on partying. And for this, we are going to ruin the best health care system in the world by socializing it?

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