Takeaway #5 from Congressman Langevin’s Town Hall: Wonks, to the Barricades!

Two questions of fact regarding healthcare in America, where consensus on all sides does not exist, came up during last night’s town hall meeting with Congressman James Langevin

  1. What is the count of uninsured people in America, major points of contention being…
    • How many of the oft-quoted figure of 47 million unisured includes people who change jobs and don’t have insurance for just a few months or even a few weeks during the year, and
    • Does the 47-million figure include illegal immigrants?
  2. Where does the United States rate in quality of care?
    • Although it wasn’t asked directly, answering this question has to preceded by answering the question of how quality-of-care can be accurately measured.
Authoritative references, anyone?

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14 years ago

The CBO helpfully laid out the characteristics of the uninsured population in a paper last December (pg. 38). CBO projects that among the uninsured in 2009, 17 percent will have family income above 300 percent of the poverty level (about $65,000 for a family of four); 18 percent will be eligible for but not enrolled in Medicaid; and 30 percent will be offered, but will decline, coverage from an employer. Some people will be in more than one of those categories at the same time—so overall, about half of the uninsured will meet at least one of those three criteria. A census report (pg. 30) about the 2007 statistics show that 21% of the uninsured were foreign-born non-citizens (doesn’t necessarily mean illegal), 20% made over $75k (40% made over $50k, but that doesn’t control for family size), and about 17.5% were 18-24 (again, though, some could be all three). I have seen people use 8 million as the “real” number of uninsured, but I can’t find anything to back that up. If you were to remove illegal aliens, the people that could buy it if they wanted, the people who could have government coverage if they were to apply, and the people who are only temporarily uninsured (which very much depends on your definition of temporary), my guess is that the number would be somewhere around 25 million. As for quality of care, obviously you can’t use life expectancy, since it is too easily influenced by ethnicity, culture, crime, etc., but that’s also true with just about any disease. The best thing to compare would be the survival rate for a relatively common disease that strikes every country in roughly the same proportion, but I don’t know of any that fits. Some specific birth defect might have worked, but abortion… Read more »

14 years ago

Hoover Digest: Here’s a Second Opinion:
“Ten reasons why America’s health care system is in better condition than you might suppose.” By Scott W. Atlas

14 years ago

It’s not an arithmetic problem. It’s a health care problem! Let’s assume that somehow 40 million people were miscounted as uninsured, that leaves 7 or 8 million of U.S. citizens uninsured. How do you propose to cover them? Or do you choose to ignore them and leave them to their own devices?

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