The statistic that is repeated is that we've got almost 50 million people uninsured. But, if we start to dismantle that figure, we find some interesting aspects. It means we've got more than 260 million people covered by healthcare plans. Among those more than 70% are very satisfied with their coverage. Can we tolerate such a situation?
Of the 50 million, a chunk voluntarily choose not to buy health insurance even though they can afford to. A large chunk are not chronically uninsured, but between jobs and therefore in a gap. Some goodly percentage are eligible for Medicaid or governmental assistance already. And, at bottom line, no one can be turned away from an emergency medical facility for lack of insurance.
Here's what the census bureau published:
The US Census Bureau annually reports statistics on the uninsured. According to its most recent figures, in 2007, nearly 37 million of the uninsured were employment-age adults (ages 18 to 64), and more than 27 million worked at least part time. Approximately 61% of the roughly 45 million uninsured live in households with incomes under $50,000 (13.5 million below $25,000 and 14.5 million at $25,000 to $49,000). And 38% live in households with incomes of $50,000 or more (8.5 million at $50,000 to $74,999 and 9.1 million at $75,000 or more.
According to the Census Bureau, people of Hispanic origin were the most affected by being uninsured; nearly a third of Hispanics lack health insurance. However, this rate decreased slightly from 2006 to 2007, from 15.3 to 14.8 million, a decrease of 2 percentage points (34.1% to 32.1%). The state with the highest percentage of uninsured was Texas (24.1% average for three years, 2004-2006). New Mexico has the second highest percentage of residents without health insurance at 22%.
It has been estimated that nearly one fifth of the uninsured population is able to afford insurance, almost one quarter is eligible for public coverage, and the remaining 56% need financial assistance (8.9% of all Americans). An estimated 5 million of those without health insurance are considered "uninsurable" because of pre-existing conditions.
Now, consider the solution being proposed. We'll drastically overhaul the healthcare system. We will provide "universal coverage" and in the process destroy the private insurance sector, reduce the availability of care, degrade the income of healthcare professionals and take away the satisfaction of the 70% who don't want their healthcare screwed with.
The cost? Estimates vary but none less than one trillion dollars and most of them ranging over 2 trillion. Let's do the numbers quickly--it's easy even for me. You simply write the numbers down and cross out the zeros to get it where you can handle it as simple numbers.
Two trillion bucks at average to cover part of the 50 million uninsured means with perfect coverage of all of them, the net cost is $40,000 per person. Seems like you could get a lot of insurance for that amount. The concensus is that in reality the success will only insure about 14 million of the 50 because another 36 million will lose coverage. But let's give it the benefit of the doubt.
How about you just send a $40K check to all of those folks and don't screw with my coverage?